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Labor unions join Wall Street protesters

by Adam Russett on October 6, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread across the country, and now the movement has also got the backing of unions and college students. Thousands of people from both groups flooded Foley Square in Manhattan on Wednesday before adding to the already-growing group of protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park, The Associated Press reports.

While union leaders will offer help in terms of manpower, they have also said that they will support the cause by providing protesters, many of whom have been camping out for weeks, with necessary supplies such as food and water. Although some have criticized the movement for having no clearly defined objective, protesters say that simply steering the conversation in the direction of the middle class is a step in the right direction.

"The great thing about Occupy Wall Street is that they have brought the focus of the entire country on the middle class majority," union member George Aldro told the AP. "We're in it together, and we’re in it for the long haul."

The most frequently-repeated cause that the protesters have championed is the growing economic inequality in the country, railing against the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. Though the protests started in New York City on September 17, they have since spread to numerous other parts of the country as well.

According to The Washington Post, similar demonstrations have sprung up in nearby cities such as Boston and Washington, D.C. as well as on the west coast in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

For the most part, the protests have been relatively tame in terms of arrests. Aside from 700 people who were detained after they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, the NYPD says that arrests have been kept to a minimum.

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