With union help, Occupy St. Louis planning major rally, march
Labor and community groups are supporting what they hope will be a major Occupy St. Louis rally and march Friday afternoon that is targeting Bank of America.
But in the meantime, a march is scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening to show solidarity with Occupy counterparts arrested in Boston and elsewhere.
According to organizers, tonight's march will be "from Kiener Plaza through downtown in support of those Occupations that have brutally repressed by the police, especially thosemembers of Occupy Boston."
However, the statement added, "Occupy St. Louis wants to reaffirm that the St. Louis Police Department has treated people with dignity and respect, and affirm that the St. Louis Police Department will continue to do so."
As for Friday's event, Bob Soutier, head of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, is among the speakers slated to kickoff the 3:30 p.m. rally in Kiener Plaza, the chief turf of the Occupy St. Louis movement since it began just over a week ago.
Bank of America was among the institutions that received federal bailout money during the economic meltdown in late 2008 and into 2009. Occupy activists and labor groups are now citing the nation's largest bank as an example of corporate greed.
The event also appears aimed at galvanizing the Occupy St. Louis participants.
The Missouri AFL-CIO said in a statement directed at members:
"All over the country, people are saying 'enough is enough' and taking to the streets. When we filled Kiener Plaza last March to rally against out-of-control corporate greed, we demonstrated our unity to the entire community. Now that jobless workers, students, construction workers and senior citizens have Occupied St. Louis to call out those that have been outsourcing our jobs, foreclosing on our homes and wrecking our economy, let's join together in a demonstration of unity from Kiener Plaza to the big banks that aren't lending to one of the many bridges left crumbling."
Labor participants are asked to wear attire that identifies their union. "This jobs crisis requires action from politicians, from corporations and from the banks," the AFL-CIO said. "Janitors and social workers, painters and bus drivers, cashiers and teachers make this country work, we're the 99 percent."
Sympathetic lawyers also are slated to attend or observe the rally to assist any protesters who are arrested.
Contact Beacon political reporter Jo Mannies.