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Occupy LA protesters set up camp at City Hall

October 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The movement against corporate greed has taken root in Los Angeles.

In solidarity with members of Occupy Wall Street in New York, protesters at 1st and Main streets in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday hoisted homemade signs and solicited drivers to honk their horns in a show of support.

The demonstrators occupied the grounds of Los Angeles City Hall to demand changes to a system they say has allowed the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to get richer, while many of the other 99 percent are struggling.

"The largest issue in my eyes is the combination of our political structure and the corporate structure that exists in this country and the relationship between those two entities is keeping the voice of average Americans from being heard," said protester Clark Davis of Venice.

The now two-week-long protest in New York escalated Saturday during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge. Police arrested 700 people, most for disorderly conduct after being warned to stay off the road.

Other protests have assembled in Boston and Washington. Protesters hope the movement gains momentum nationwide so leaders on Capitol Hill take notice.

In Los Angeles, the gathering began with a march to City Hall on Saturday. It has been calm, but protesters said they consider it a revolution in its early stages.

"Anybody who feels they have a duty to protect and defend the Constitution, this is where you should be," said one demonstrator.

Justin Balis slept on the sidewalk with a blanket. He said he has felt the impact of the economic downturn.

"I haven't lost my job, but I'm underemployed, it's a part-time job, and it's definitely been affected by the economy. It's definitely slowed down."

The demonstrators said it's a peaceful movement. They said they don't want problems with the city or the Los Angeles Police Department so they can continue to occupy the grounds at City Hall indefinitely.

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