NEW YORK

Occupy Wall Street Protests Target NYC Millionaires

10/11/2011 08:49 am ET | Updated Dec 11, 2011

NEW YORK -- Hundreds of protesters, emboldened by the growing national Occupy Wall Street movement, streamed through midtown Manhattan on Tuesday in what they called a "Millionaires March."

They marched two by two up the sidewalk, planning to pass the homes of some of New York City's wealthiest residents. An organizer said they didn't have a permit and wanted to avoid blocking pedestrian traffic.

"No Billionaire Left Behind," said a placard hoisted by Arlene Geiger, who teaches economics at Manhattan's John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Protesters expressed concern about how much less the wealthy will pay - and who would be negatively affected - when New York's 2 percent "millionaires' tax" expires in December.

In the closest they've come to naming names, the protesters planned to visit the homes of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch, among others.

Protesters have been camped out for weeks in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, saying they're fighting for the "99 percent," or the vast majority of Americans who do not fall into the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

Their causes range from bringing down Wall Street to fighting global warming. The movement gained traction through social media, and protests have taken place in several other cities nationwide.

In Boston, hundreds of college students marched through downtown Boston on Monday and gathered on Boston Common, holding signs that read "Fund education, not corporations."

The protesters are angry with an education system they say mimics "irresponsible, unaccountable, and unethical financial practices" of Wall Street.

About 50 protesters in Boston were arrested overnight after they ignored warnings to move from a downtown greenway near where they have been camped out for more than a week, police said.

Several hundred protesters were arrested in New York more than a week ago after police said they ignored warnings to stay in place. There was no word on any arrests in Tuesday's protest in New York.

The protest comes as New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes, threatening tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry.

"Excessive risk-taking on Wall Street was a major factor leading to the financial crisis and the recession," DiNapoli said. "Regulatory changes that reduce risk and focus attention on long-term profitability rather than short-term gains will enhance stability."

Christopher Guerra, a 27-year-old artist and Occupy Wall Street protester from Newark, N.J., said he thought the job losses weren't necessarily bad.

"That means more people on our side," said Guerra, who calls himself an Eisenhower Republican but says he's opposed to today's corporate behavior. "The companies are destroying this country by helping themselves, not the people, and pushing jobs out of America.

"If they get shafted, they will realize that what we are saying is true."

On Tuesday, several hundred protesters marched around the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

The police presence is constant, and comes with a price tag. The New York Police Department already has spent $1.9 million, mostly in overtime pay, to patrol the area near Zuccotti Park, where hundreds of protesters have camped out for several weeks. Though cold weather is on the way, they're prepared to stay put for the long haul.

The expense comes at a time when Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered citywide budget cuts.

"The bottom line is that people want to express themselves, and as long as they obey the laws, we allow them to," Bloomberg told reporters Monday when asked about the protesters' staying power. "If they break the laws, then we're going to do what we're supposed to do - enforce the laws."

Last week, Bloomberg ordered all agencies to prepare to cut expenses by a total of $2 billion during the next 18 months. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the budget cuts may cause the cancellation of a new class of police officers entering the academy in January.

Police officials would not comment Monday on whether the Occupy Wall Street protest would have any bearing on how the budget cuts would play out. A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to comment on any financial issues.

"We always prefer to not spend overtime, but again, this is a big, complex city, lots of things going on," Kelly said last week, describing the protesters' effect on the NYPD. "And we have to spend overtime for unplanned operations."

The protesters say they're fighting for the "99 percent," or the vast majority of Americans who do not fall into the wealthiest 1 percent of the population; their causes range from bringing down Wall Street to fighting global warming. The movement gained traction through social media, and protests have taken place in several other cities nationwide.

Occupy protests

___

Associated Press writers Laura Crimaldi in Boston, and Kiley Armstrong, Deepti Hajela, Colleen Long in New York, contributed to this report.

Suggest a correction