Friday, October 7, 2011

OccupySLC in the Rain

Video and story by Michael Orton

Some wore suits with neckties and wingtips. Some wore mountain gear. They had a late start compared to their counterparts in New York, where the movement had grown to more than ten thousand by this day. At Utah's capitol, approximately 250 people showed up even though the National Weather Service had warned that they'd be in the area's first big storm of the season. They came anyway. Unions, political parties, minority representatives as well as moms and pops who were just tired of what they called, "corporate greed."

The citizens' drumbeat was constant.

Video of OccupySLC – ©2011 MICHAEL ORTON for ImageProviders. All Rights Reserved

So they assembled in the cold morning rain, and by the time they marched to the city's Pioneer Park more than a mile away, the mountains of northern Utah were showing their first blanket of snow. The placards got soggy, but the resolve remained undiluted because, like many others, they were concerned about the disparity of wealth in the nation. A couple of days before, Nick Kristoff of the New York Times had said that, "in effect, the banks have succeeded in socializing risk while privatizing profits."

These people agreed.

And nearby, lobbyists at the statehouse were requesting privileges at the capitol health club (presumably to be closer to the legislators) and to begin valet parking service there. Utah lawmakers had scheduled meetings on the following day to determine how a fourth congressional district would be defined, fueling rumours that the state's democratic party would be gerrymandered out of existence.

In Salt Lake City's Pioneer Park, the Utah demonstrators were pitching tents to stay awhile, to let people know that they meant business, too.

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