Occupy Miami Brings Out Hundreds of Protesters to Bayfront Park

Categories: News, Occupy Miami
occupy1.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
Echoing the ongoing "Occupy" movements from Wall Street to San Francisco, hundreds of sign-waving, drum-beating, flyer-hawking protesters gathered in Bayfront Park this afternoon, drawing supportive honks from cars pouring down Biscayne Boulevard and bewildered stares from tourists popping shrimp at Bubba Gump.

The energy around the Torch of Friendship was palpable, but as for what the crowd was protesting .... well, it depended on who was waving the sign.

No one can accuse the Occupy movement of erecting a small tent. Among the several hundred gathered at Bayfront this afternoon were bandana-clad anarchists and moderate Republicans, Ron Paul-supporting libertarians and liberal democrats.

Hand-made signs called for reforming banks, forgiving student loans, ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, boycotting corporate farming and supporting unions.

One goth-clad young woman handed out xeroxed pages in support of Anonymous, the hacker collective, reading, "The people should not fear the government, the government should fear the people." An intense-eyed activist nearby passed out literature urging Americans to vote, "but not for lawyers."

So what is this Occupy business all about?

The organizers weren't much interested in talking about it, at least to us. Muhammed Malik, a former ACLU researcher who helped spark Occupy Miami, said he was "only talking to Al Jazeera." Another planner left to take a phone call before a reporter could ask questions. A third said simply: "We're not interested in talking today."

The protesters themselves were much more forthcoming. If there was a unifying theme to the afternoon, it was a seething anger at corporate greed and the role of cash in American politics.

Mario Garcia, a military vet who'd served in Bosnia, says he's had trouble landing sales jobs in Miami and his wife, Stephanie, hasn't been able to stay home with their children.

"The heads of corporations are making millions while the employees are getting laid off and their salaries slashed," he says, holding a sign reading "Being a two-income family should be a choice, not a requirement for survival."

"We can't get banks out of politicians' pockets and vice versa," Stephanie Garcia adds.

Nearby, Ron Cox, a political science professor at Florida International University, sounds a similar theme.

"People feel powerless because it's money that matters in politics today," Cox says.

Laura Leigh Rumpey, a high school teacher, says Rick Scott's emphasis on profit-driven charter schools in Florida is another example of corporate influence in politics hurting American society.

"When the profit motive is more important than educating students, you see the kind of horrible effects that public schools around the state are seeing," she says.

Diverse as the protesters demands might be, many said the sight of hundreds of Miamians waving signs at all was heartening.

"The message that we're the 99 percent is really resonating," says Nicholas "Sandy" Davies, local coordinator of the Progressive Democrats of America. "We're not trying to exclude anyone from this movement ... except maybe the corporate CEOs making millions."

Here are a few photos from this afternoon. Check back later for a full slide show and analysis:

occupy3.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
occupy4.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
occupy2.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
occupy5.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
occupy1.jpg
photo by Tim Elfrink
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
MelanieBarret
MelanieBarret

my roomate's ex-wife makes $72 hourly on the internet. She has been out of work for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $7538 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read about it on this site Many Rich. Com

michael wind
michael wind

miami only understands action,get in touch with all federal and citizens organizations and report to the world how we operate here,public corruption,police houligans,russian mafia,everything that is wrong,polution,sex slaves,etc.....

Cosmic_Surfer
Cosmic_Surfer

You may want to pull out of the obsessive narrow view and look at the whole picture- it isn't "Obama" but he is a part of it just like everyone else in the political structure of this country - from McConnell to Boehner to Cantor and DeMint to Rubio to McCain to Paul (both Sr and his silly son) to Obama and Biden to Reid to Pelosi.

The entire structure is corrupted by the money paid to protect corporations over the people.

Welcome to slavery America 21st century. Now, I suggest you join us - YOU ARE THE 99%

shakedownstreet
shakedownstreet

I didn't know that there were that many welfare recipients and bums around Bayfront. Government trough feeding must be more rampant than previously thought.

JacobC
JacobC

Considering that there is actually no process to have spokespeople designated yet, and that Muhammad has talked every major station, and that every other story was able to get plenty of folks to talk to them, including the Miami Herald, Ch. 10 News, and even the blogs, this is some of the worst coverage I've seen.

Minsky
Minsky

Being a former Miami resident who now lives in NYC and part of the occupy wall at movement it's great to see Miami taking part.

But I find it troubling that the organizers refuse to speak to the media. How can you get people to join a movement by being pretentious and insulating youreself from the same people your fighting for.

This is OUR movement in OUR nation and we need to shout it out to anyone that wants to listen.

WavMoo
WavMoo

lol, think the sheeple will ever realize that its gonna take a LOT more than waving some silly sign to get anything done around here??

real-privacy.tk

BillyBudd7
BillyBudd7

It is extremely frustrating that a corporate grifter a Medicare fraud like Rick Scott is the top Florida Government official.  No wonder the Florida Supreme Court declared his effort to privatize prisons to be without basis in law.  Its the lawless brazen style that seems to work...

Alex Giassa
Alex Giassa

The main theme of this protest is frustration with a system that's broken and corrupt. I don't agree with a few of the issues, yet I agree with the overall feeling that we as Americans feel.

seep
seep

"Muhammed Malik, a former ACLU researcher who helped spark Occupy Miami, said he was 'only talking to Al Jazeera.' "

I support these protests, but I can't relate to that.  The American media must be won over, so as to propagate the movement.

Jacobc
Jacobc

Apologies, worst reporting: contradicted by every major source available.

LallaSalmah
LallaSalmah

It's the Cuban AHOLES, my friend, who voted for this thief and the opportunist Marquito Rubio. Now we really have reason to blame them!

seep
seep

I think he was maybe just refusing to speak to New Times, or he was joking.  I saw him interviewed on Channel 7 yesterday (Channel 7 is not an Al-Jazeera affiliate).

ITROLLU
ITROLLU

Hey! Finally! Guess Rick Scott, etc. will figure it out when he starts streaming Al Jazeera on his computer!

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...