The sun came out just in time for Occupy Miami's 7-hour "May Day" protest downtown in honor of International Workers' Day.
Occupy Miami is livestreaming the assembly after gathering at noon at Bayfront Park's Torch of Friendship; the group headed out about 2 p.m., marching to the rally cry of "All night, all day, Occupy MIA!" Click play above to watch.
Across the country, protesters are urging the public to not attend work, school, or shop on May Day to make a statement against economic inequality. Local Occupy groups have also railed against high foreclosure rates and government corruption. According to a recent study on public corruption conviction, South Florida is the 4th-most corrupt metro area in the U.S. over the last 25 years.
“The current political system does not solve the problems we face as a community, from wealth inequality, banking and student loan fraud, and the prison and military industrial complex," Occupy Miami said in a statement. "In fact, this political system perpetuates them. We strongly urge residents all throughout the Greater Miami Area to come out as a show of force against this intolerable status quo and for an informed, united, engaged citizenry."
About 150 people from multiple protesting groups gathered at the Torch of Friendship, wielding signs, banging on makeshift drums and taking turns talking through a megaphone. While they each had different concerns, all were based on working class Americans.
"We're all in this together. We're all in the same struggle," Alex Rosales of Occupy FIU told HuffPost Miami.
Rosales said that the students are upset with tuition hikes and are working to abolish free speech zones in the university -- they would like to be able to speak wherever, especially after he was arrested on January 12 while protesting with six others on campus.
A women's group that formed from some of the female members of Occupy Miami, Reclaim Your Power Equality (RYPE), were also present. Their signs demanded equal pay and encouraged passersby that "Our Bodies Do Not Dictate Our Worth."
"The war on women is persistent," said member Andrea Muñez. She also noticed the that Florida Gov. Rick Scott was nearby signing a bill at the Freedom Tower, noting there was no freedom for women as he is "fueling the attack."
Occupy weren't be alone in their afternoon protest. Employees of public hospital Jackson Health System gathered at noon on the sidewalk outside Jackson Memorial Hospital to urge local leaders to "save" the financially strapped healthcare provider by intervening in this week's planned layoffs of 1,100 employees.
The group of May Day protesters at the Torch of Friendship began their march on the streets, snaking through downtown Miami and chanting "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out," "The people united, we'll never be defeated" and "Whose streets? Our streets."
The day's schedule, according to Occupy Miami's Facebook:
12-2 p.m. Open mic speak out
2-3 p.m. March
3-4 p.m. Autonomous playhouse
4:30- 6 p.m. Speakers
May Day’s origins reach back to Chicago in 1886, when 100,000 workers protested for an eight-hour work day. It ended in cases of police brutality, an uprising by an anarchist group at Haymarket Square, mass imprisonment and martial law. Years later, the day was recognized as International Workers Day, and additional May Day events were planned by groups around the world arguing for change in their working environment.
View images of the protest, and keep reading below for our LIVEBLOG from May Day activities unfolding across the nation:
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