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Protesters gather for Occupy-Fest in the Central Valley

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement is growing in the Central Valley as more people join the cause from Merced to Visalia.

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"I had to give up my dreams of owning a home to raise my children in and move them into a tiny apartment in the ghetto so I could pay my medical bills and still feed them," says Stephanie Owen. Owen works as a 911 dispatcher. She says she hears similar frustrations when she answers a 911 call, "I hear it all the time on 911 calls; a wife calls because her husband is having a heart attack and he's yelling, 'No! Let me die! We cant afford it!'"

Owen joined 50 other protestors marching on the streets of Visalia chanting for a change.

Fresno State political science professor David Schecter said the Occupy movement is growing because of the economic downturn. Schecter says, "Small town America has really taken off in the last week for some of these protests because it's really small town and main street America which has been hit so hard by what's been happening with the economy."

The Occupy Fresno crowd has camped out for nearly a week. More than 200 people spent Saturday in downtown Fresno. Some protestors here are upset about the high unemployment rate. Others are calling for higher taxes on the wealthy.

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Tags:
occupy wall street, merced, visalia, fresno, local, mariana jacob
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