SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Monday marked a month to the day since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York City. It's since spread to many major cities across the globe. Whether you agree with the protests or not, one thing's for sure- it's becoming harder and harder to ignore this growing movement.
The first large demonstration in Springfield happened on the steps of City Hall early Monday evening. Court Street had been closed off earlier in the day, because police had anticipated a crowd early in the day. However, only a handful of folks showed up in the morning. The majority of demonstrators didn't arrive until late in the afternoon.
"The only way we'll get a real democracy is if the people in this country develop a movement to make change," said West Springfield resident Charlie Rogers.
But what kind of change? The growing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been criticized for lacking clear objectives. Yet protestors passionately defend the movement.
"That's the whole thing," said Christina Luban, who traveled to the protest from Enfield, Connecticut. "There's so much wrong with the world that there can't be one thing changed to fix it all."
More than a hundred people gathered at City Hall bearing placards and chanting to the beat of drums. The loosely organized demonstration was nearly accidental, as multiple grassroots organizations just happened to converge at the same time. The coincidental strength in numbers was facilitated by viral posts on Facebook, linking many groups together- environmentalists, veterans, "Occupy" protestors, anti-war demonstrators, anti-foreclosure advocates, gay rights supporters. Despite the array of interests and agendas, organizers say all these groups share a common vision.
"I think that we're all fed up with corporations being put before people," said Springfield No One Leaves' Malcolm Chu, "and we're ready for our cities and our communities and our economy to be about what's good for people.... not what's good for a CEO's check or bottom line."
Candejah Pink agreed. "That's what we do," she said. "We need to come together as one because now we look really big, and they know that we mean business. We're not going to take it anymore."
Some of the groups flooded the city council meeting being held inside, calling on the city to cut off all ties to Bank of America. That proposal was introduced by Councilor Amaad Rivera, but it was tabled to a subcommittee for further review.