The “Occupy Albany” movement kicked off with a few early birds at noon and gradually grew to about 100 people in 30 minutes, as people were drawn to the park next to the state Capitol building.
The diverse crowd included the unemployed and employed and the young and old. Their message was equally scattered, with the overarching theme being a general disgust with the way they see the country going.
A shirtless Jude Camillo, 18, of Schenectady, wrote his message on his chest. “People before profits” was scrolled across his lean body..
There are so many issues, he said, rattling off problems with the shrinking middle class and income disparity.
The atmosphere was extremely congenial, like a day in the park, which included donated baked goods. People chatted with friends, strangers and about a dozen members of the media.
There were signs displaying anger with corporations, government and greed. There were also some witty signs, one riddled with spelling mistakes that decried the firing of teachers. That sign was carried by a boy from Greenfield whose mother is a teacher and had been taken to the event with his siblings by their father, Ron Deutsch.
Deutsch said he was teaching his kids what democracy in action looks like and feels like the 99% movement represents him.
The group’s general assembly will meet at 5 p.m. in the park. There they will try to articulate some of their messages, plan for the future and hear reports from subgroups.
The evening could come to a head at 11 p.m., when the state police has said it will enforce the city’s curfew. Some protesters were considering staying in the park past the curfew and there was a legal table offering advice and counsel for those people.
Follow the Daily Gazette’s continuous coverage of this event at @GazettePolitics on Twitter.
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Categories: Schenectady County