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Occupy Wall Street protests reach Knoxville

7:35 PM, Oct 7, 2011   |    comments
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A national movement known for its opposition to big corporations has made its way to Knoxville. "Occupy Wall Street" started in New York City and soon spread to other cities around the country. Protesters from East Tennessee gathered in Downtown Knoxville Friday night.

The movement reached Nashville on Thursday. Protestor Emile Todd said Friday's event in Knoxville will demonstrate East Tennessee's commitment to the message which started in New York.

"We have to convince the people that are in power that things have to change so we have to work together," he said. "This is not about overthrowing anybody. This is about everyone cooperating and showing that we have to work together as one united country."

Dozens of Knoxville protestors gathered downtown in Krutch park Friday evening. They carried signs and held candles for a "vigil."

At its core, the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters feel they have been wronged by "corporate America." Todd said the movement is about people pursuing "the American dream."

"[It] has been filled with pitfalls, created by class and corporate elite who basically bout out our legislative process and undermine democracy," he said. 

Tricia Bruce teaches Sociology at Maryville College, and specializes in social movements. She believes the protests could continue to grow.

"You're seeing people capitalize on something that has been on people's minds for sometime now. You have an economic recession that has left millions of people unemployed and its raised issues about inequality and people's understanding about their chances for success," said Bruce.

She predicts this movement could also impact future politics.

"We are going to see these issues come up in debates related to the election. We are going to see these issues come up as we continually think about the direction of the country and the practices of Wall Street."

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