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More Wall Street protests form across US

October 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The protests against Wall Street, which started in New York three weeks ago, have now spread across the country.

Rallies are being held in states including Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska.

Police and protesters clashed across California on Thursday and Friday, with about 19 people arrested in Sacramento. Eleven people were arrested in Los Angeles after they entered a bank during a rally.

The protesters call themselves the "99 percent" of people struggling in this economy, claiming that just one percent profits.

Although their main concern is Wall Street practices and economic inequality, some demonstrators said politicians from both major parties are to blame for policies they say protect corporate America at the expense of the country's middle class.

President Barack Obama on Thursday acknowledged the economic insecurities fueling the protests. But he pinned responsibility on the financial industry and on congressional Republicans he says have blocked his efforts to kick-start job growth.

"I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works," he said at a nationally televised news conference.

Obama said the American people realize that not everyone follows the rules, and Wall Street is an example of that.

GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Herman Cain have criticized the anti-Wall Street protests.

"Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself," Cain said to The Wall Street Journal.

All the Republican contenders have also pushed back against the demonization of Wall Street. They accuse the Obama administration of setting regulatory policies that have stifled job creation and say his health care overhaul will prevent many businesses from hiring new workers.

Occupy Wall Street activists in New York said they're fed up with the political gridlock in Washington. While some blamed Republicans for blocking reform, others singled out Obama, saying he's not proposing any new solutions.

See photos of Wall Street protests being held across the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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