Occupy Wall Street protesters arrived in Washington after a two-week walk, decrying the congressional supercommittee’s stalemate in efforts to reach a deficit-reduction agreement.
“We need to continue to raise the issue,” Michael Glazer, 26, told reporters today after reaching McPherson Square, where their Occupy DC counterparts are camping.
Glazer was among about 70 people who marched from New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to raise awareness of income inequality. The group waved flags and chanted, “We are the 99 percent,” a slogan of the demonstrations that spread from New York to cities on four continents.
Marchers, including some who had camped in Zuccotti Park after the protests began in lower Manhattan on Sept. 17, set out on Nov. 9. They traveled about 20 miles a day and held rallies along the way. Remaining protesters were evicted from Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15 by police in riot gear.
The demonstrators were welcomed with cheers at McPherson Square near the White House. The marchers said they made a point of walking through poor neighborhoods. They also visited college campuses, including the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, during the final leg of the walk to highlight the burden of student loans.
The supercommittee’s failure, announced yesterday, triggers $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that the protesters worry will hit social programs and poor people the hardest. The panel had until Nov. 23 to carve $1.5 trillion out of the federal budget.
The protest isn’t “a movement about politics,” Sarah Handyside, 28, said in an interview after reaching Washington from New York.“It’s about creating a new society, rather than a society where dollar bills come before people’s needs.”
Congress “isn’t doing the job, and we’re paying attention,” Glazer said after the press conference. “We’re going to do something about it, come hell or high water.”
The marchers said they are contemplating their next moves, including returning to their homes, heading back to New York and a group bike ride to Miami.
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