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'We are the 99%,' L.A. marchers chant at protest

October 15, 2011 |  3:02 pm

As protesters around the world marked a "global day of action," hundreds took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles about noon Saturday to vent frustration over dismal job prospects and the failure of government to get the economy back on track.

"I'm one of the 99%," said Walt Metivier of Torrance, referring to the vast majority of Americans who are not among the wealthiest. "I work for a large oil company, and I'm fortunate, but I want to see a future for my grandchildren." And right now, he said, he doesn't.

Marchers carried signs reading "Corporations are not people" and "Trickledown made us pee-ons."

Photos: Occupy protests around the world

Wall Street and big corporations bore the brunt of people's anger. "Banks are sitting on money, and my house is under water," said Sharon Stewart, 65, a retired USC worker who lives in Phoenix. "I'm frightened about Medicare and Social Security. Children and grandchildren are being negatively impacted by the economic crisis."

Marchers remained peaceful as they moved en masse from Pershing Square to the tent camp that has occupied the lawn surrounding City Hall for several days. The protesters were accompanied by police on bicycles and on foot who stopped traffic at intersections as the group passed.

The protesters' chants echoed off the walls of high-rises and overpasses. "Whose streets?  Our streets." "We got sold out. Banks got bailed out." "We are the 99%!"

Despite the frustration and anger that many protesters expressed, the march took on a festive atmosphere. Families walked together, with toddlers atop their fathers' shoulders. One woman twirled a Hula-Hoop around her middle as she walked. A man strummed a guitar. Several people played drums.


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-- Martha Groves

Photo: Occupy L.A. protest. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times.