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Occupy DSM still going strong

Photo: Rachel Ward

The Occupy movement between police and protesters across the nation, but one night during the Occupy Des Moines protest, a police officer addressed the crowd.

“But don’t forget, you are apart of the 99 percent, too,” said one of the protesters.

“…Believe me, I’m painfully aware of it…,” the police officer replied.

The police officer said it with a smile, perhaps revealing a glimpse of the part of himself that many had not seen from other police officers.

He and another officer had just stopped by to lay down the protesting rules at the Tower Park pavilion, where dozens of Occupy Des Moines protestors had gathered before their march to the First Federated Church on Nov. 19. A GOP presidential candidate forum was underway, and presidential candidates Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich were present.

Drums rumbled, passing cars sounded horns and at least 50 protestors made themselves heard, each bearing bold signs demanding such things as “Make Wall St. Pay!” as they marched around the block to the GOP forum.

“The people united will never be defeated,” they yelled.

“We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” they yelled louder.

And as they rolled into the parking lot, the trademark “We are the 99 percent” with an added “And so are you” was the underlying, blaring message.

“I want to put the power to create currency back into the hands of the treasury [instead of] the FED,” said protestor Clarke Davidson. “I want publicly funded elections and for each presidential candidate to have equally funded campaigns.”

Davidson said his two major dissatisfactions with the country’s political system are among dozens of other issues that have been raised at the protests, such as more funding toward education, reduction in taxes, and — one of the more powerful — people before corporations.

The Occupy Des Moines movement has been in full swing since it debuted on Oct. 9 at the capital building. After being forced off the capital grounds by police on Oct. 14, the protestors have occupied Stewart Square Park where they pitched dozens of tents, including multiple large storage and kitchen-type canopies.

“I think we’re making great progress,” said protestor Jeff Craig. “As an occupational movement in Des Moines, we’re keeping the lines of communication open with the city.

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