Hundreds of protesters marched along Central Avenue holding placards and chanting slogans on Saturday in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Occupy Wall Street is a peaceful demonstration occurring in New York City to oppose corporate influence over politics and the government, protesters said.
Volcano Vista High School teacher Barbara Endicott said she came out to protest because she feels corporations get an unfair amount of special treatment while the majority of Americans are neglected.
“I feel like the banks got bailed out, and they’re leaving us in the lurch,” she said. “And the government is being corrupted by the corporations. The corporations have way too much power.”
The protest drew a wide variety of people, from children with their parents to students and senior citizens, with a range of reasons for attending. Most of the protestors interviewed said they feared that the influence of the wealthiest 1 percent drown out the voices of the other 99 percent.
Tanner Charles said he came to the protest to express his right to assemble and show his disapproval of the status quo.
“We feel like we’ve pretty much got the shaft from corporations and the government and an older generation,” he said. “Billions of our dollars go to subsidizing companies who make record profits every year.”
Protesters gathered in front of the US Bank on Central, and as the number of protesters grew, the Albuquerque Police Department closed down parts of the street.
Throughout the protest, the group, who called themselves “the 99 percenters,” chanted “We got sold out,” “Human needs, not corporate greed,” “This is what democracy looks like” and “We are the 99 percent.”
UNM Student John Flores said he wants to see the end of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I love this country so much, and I don’t want to see it crumble,” he said. “But being over there, in those countries, hurts us.
We’re spreading imperialism, and that’s not what this country was built on.”
UNM Medical School student John Visante said he attended the protest to support health care equality and show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“The U.S. has come out in several occasions, in international treaties and documents, to say health care and health is a basic and fundamental human right,” he said. “So we’re asking our country to recognize that right here in the U.S. and to vindicate that right to a lot of people suffering.”
Bruce Trigg, a retired public health physician, said he blamed corporate greed for the lack of health insurance for 50 million Americans. He said taking to the streets is the only way for Americans to get their voices heard.
“We are voiceless in the Democratic and Republican parties because both of those parties are owned by corporations,” he said. “The only way we can have a voice now is in the streets of the United States. This is democracy in action.”
UNM student Paul Blackburn said he doesn’t think the government will meet protesters’ demands.
“I think that protests can achieve something, but on this scale it’s mostly symbolic,” he said. “People, I think, despite being mired in debt and having all these issues, are still well-fed and well-clothed and entertained.”