CHICAGO (CBS) — The Wall Street protests have spread across the county and have taken root in Chicago for nearly a month. But some are now asking: Is anyone really listening?
Demonstrators believe they are, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
From their home base in Chicago’s financial district, Occupy Chicago protestors continue to voice their belief they can make a difference — even when some don’t want to hear it.
The protestors have spent almost four weeks gathering near LaSalle and Jackson and various parts of the city, angry about what they see as economic injustice and corporate control of Washington.
Four years ago, electrician Rick Bonzani never imagined he would be protesting — or about to lose his home. But things have changed.
“I’ve worked six months in three years, and I’m ready to lose my home and I’m ready to lose everything I’ve worked for really in 30 years,” Bonazni says. “I’m just kind of fed up.”
That’s why the Mokena father of two was standing Monday with a variety of other Occupy Chicago protesters, who hope they can make a difference.
“This comes down to corporate and special-interest money in politics, the fact that our democracy is no longer the voice of the people,” employed demonstrator Dorothy Conway said. “What you hear is the sound of money talking, and I want that to change.”
The anger leads assistant history Prof. Michelle Nickerson to believe the protestors can have a lasting impact.
“I think they can become significantly more powerful,” Nickerson said. “I think it’s too early to tell.”
Apparently, Washington officials are listening to at least some of what they’re saying.
Illinois’ senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, a Democrat, has expressed sympathy toward protesters and defends their right to demonstrate. His counterpart, Republican Mark Kirk, was less enthusiastic.
“It feels like undisciplined, unfocused, unintellectual anger,” he told reporters Monday.
So far, protestors and Chicago’s police department have co-existed peacefully — with the exception of 175 arrests Saturday night when marchers refused to leave Grant Park after 11 p.m.
It’s a relationship that protestors expect will continue.
“There’s nothing that anyone can do to stop this movement,” one demonstrator said.
The demonstrators say they have no intentions of leaving, but some who work in the Loop wish they would, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
From their base, demonstrators expected to head south to Roosevelt and Columbia colleges, where they hope to encourage students to join their opposition to what they call corporate greed and bank bailouts.
The number of protesters continues to grow each week. They say it’s a sign of their growing support, but marchers are also getting some backlash from the public.
“When you are making noise constantly and getting into their perceptions a little bit, it starts to get them to turn around and look at our signs and maybe realize that we are out here,” said demonstrator Sam Abrahamson.
Some don’t mind it.
“We hear the drums pounding during the day. It’s some music. It’s OK. I hope it all works out,” said Mike Jaslowski.
Others are tired of the noise and distractions.
“It’s time for them to go home,” one worker said.
“They better get used to it, because we aren’t going anywhere,” said protester Juan Oribio.