Demonstrators gather at State House to launch anniversary celebration of Occupy Boston
About 60 demonstrators have gathered in front of the State House despite drizzle and gray skies to mark the one-year anniversary of Occupy Boston.
Amid a backdrop that includes a tent with the phrase “U R being cheated” scrawled across the front and a large sign that says “We’re Still Here! Occupy Boston,” the group plans to march to the site of last fall’s Dewey Square encampment later this afternoon after the rally by the State House steps.
One year ago today, Occupy Boston demonstrators converged on Dewey Square in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement to protest what organizers viewed as corporate greed and economic inequality. The encampment swelled to hundreds of tents in the square before police cleared it in December.
Steve Revilak, of Arlington, said today that Occupy members have been working in smaller groups since then on a variety of initiatives, including efforts to reduce corporate influence on political campaigns and to build support for more federal spending on social programs and less on defense.
“A lot of concerns that caused the encampment I don’t think have been addressed,” Revilak said.
During the rally, a sculpted pig’s head and a large gray “debt boulder,” where demonstrators could write about their financial burdens were placed in front of the State House steps.
One person wrote, “student loans for seminary, LORD HAVE MERCY.”
Some demonstrators held balloons that said “I AM NOT A LOAN” or simply “DEBT.”
Revilak added that today was partially a day of celebration.
“Maybe we pat ourselves on the back a little bit just for making it through this long,” he said.
Joan Livingston, 58, of Boston, wore a party hat that said “Happy Birthday,” an homage to the cause.
“It’s been an incredibly exciting movement,” she said.
Today’s event includes music and food, and a blanket giveaway for the needy. The group is scheduled to remain at the State House until 2:30, then will march to Dewey Square and rally at the Federal Reserve Bank.
“The most important [thing] is it’s humans getting together to help humans,” Leah Phillips, 46, said of the celebration. Phillips, of West Roxbury, organized the blanket drive for the needy with other demonstrators.
Her friend, Molly Hannon, 41, of Roslindale, said passion remains high among Occupy supporters.
“We’re just trying to make the world a better place,” said Hannon.
A man who would only give his name as Andrew, 27, wore a dark suit and held a sign that read, “Future 1% er any minute now.”
He said came mainly to meet a friend and thought he would also poke fun at policies of “inequality and giving all the wealth to the top.”
Two state troopers were standing near the edge of the orderly crowd, which is occasionally breaking into chants including “the people, united, will never be defeated.”Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
On the beat
Columnist Adrian Walker says UMass Dartmouth is shaken after revelations that one of the Marathon bomb suspects was a student there. Read more