Susan Sarandon lends star power to Wall Street protests
Susan Sarandon joins Wall Street protests to 'educate' herself. Visits by Sarandon and other high-profile activists are helping 'Occupy Wall Street' gain attention, despite a small turnout.
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In fact, the only signs of the event around the New York Stock Exchange were the barriers that prevented people from walking through the plaza around the financial center. The most notable protest around the exchange came not from the raggedy-looking "Occupy Wall Street" group but from dozens of neatly attired workers with the Air Line Pilots Association union, which was protesting working conditions for that group.Skip to next paragraph
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John Weitrich, a reserved-looking foreign currencies pro in the financial district, gazed bemusedly at a sidewalk mural of signs, each containing equally vitriolic messages about American greed.
"I get the feeling there's not too much behind it," Weitrich said. "Maybe they want to bring back the '60s. A lot of the signs don't seem to mean a heck of a lot."
Still, no one appeared particularly disturbed that the protesters had taken over the park, which in normal times serves as a comparatively quiet lunchtime spot for Wall Streeters and construction workers alike.
A few of the hard-hats seemed to sneer occasionally at the gathering, but it was an otherwise peaceful coexistence.
"They feel the minority is not getting their fair shake," said Danny DeJesus, a 50-year old construction worker at ground zero. "I don't know if they're going to get their demands met. After a couple months everybody's going to be gone and it will just be the same old thing."
What their demands even are is unclear.
While idealism is running high, it's not like Wall Street is going to come to a screeching halt even if the couple hundred protesters ask nicely. Rather, the protest likely will be one in an ongoing series of events looking to get some level of reform in the financial system, after memories of how greed nearly brought down the entire US economy just three years ago.
Williams' media director said the councilman is the first elected official to visit "Occupy Wall Street" so far. But even he didn't seem quite sure what the protesters want.
"That's a question that has to be considered," Williams said. "People are beginning to take them seriously and they should."
For some, though, the protest if nothing else was a way to carry on an American tradition.
"I've been protesting since the Vietnam War," said a smiling Larry Lawrence. The lanky 61-year-old who now lives in New York but originally hails from Jackson, Ga., wandered the park spouting statistics that highlighted income disparity in the US.
But will the protesters' message gain traction?
With the question put to her, Sarandon raised her eyebrows, looked directly at her interviewer and said, "That depends on you."