Hundreds peacefully occupy Lansing, Mich.
Hundreds of people rallied at the state Capitol on Saturday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Capitol officials say an estimated 500 people rallied there in blustery winds.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero addressed the rally at the Capitol. Building on his failed gubernatorial campaign message of Main Street over Wall Street, Bernero rallied the crowd with a call and response.
“You deserve better, America deserves better, our seniors deserve better, our children deserve better, our students deserve better, our families deserve better, our veterans deserve better,” Bernero said. “Thank God you’re here to fight for it. The unholy alliance of Wall Street has failed to deliver to Main Street.”
Bernero was joined at the Capitol by his father, an Italian immigrant who worked for GM.
In addition to a rally, protesters marched through downtown Lansing twice on Saturday with police escorts. Police said the first march consisted of about 200 protesters, the second of 150.
While Bernero has opened Reutters Park in downtown Lansing and embraced the movement, some protesters decided to challenge state officials and stay on the steps of the Capitol through the night Saturday. Capitol rules prohibit persons from being on the grounds after 11 p.m. and from camping.
In spite of the rules violations, four state troopers stood by in a small clump watching the protesters on the steps of the Capitol after 11 p.m. There were no arrests.
The Department of Homeland Security also had a visible presence over the weekend. DHS officials drove by the protest marches and Reutters Park regularly.
In other protests across the state there were no arrests reported.
In other cities around the country, however, hundreds were arrested. Reports say that there were arrests in Chicago, Denver and North Carolina.
A showdown between Iowa protesters and Iowa State Police was averted on Friday night when the mayor of Des Moines offered protesters a local park, just blocks away.
But criticism of the Occupy movement has become more visible. On Monday, Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation posted an editorial claiming the movement was filled with communists and Nazis.
Not only the Communist Party but also the American Nazi Party has endorsed OWS as well.
Ironically, when protesters advocating a Marxist agenda took the stage at the Capitol on Saturday, they split the general assembly, causing the conversation to degrade because they were rejected by the rest of the protesters.
In addition, Michigan Messenger in covering the Tea Party movement uncovered incidents where “straight pride” t-shirts were being sold at rallies, with part of the profits being donated to the movement. Also at a Tea Party rally at the Capitol to protest Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s last State of the State speech, anti-Jewish videos were distributed.
Meanwhile in Reutter Park, which has been the site of an occupation encampment for a week, people arrived with arm loads of donations — from food to blankets to jackets to propane stoves and pizza. Others gathers in circles and talked, while still others raked the park, bagging the leaves from the large maples that fill it.