- "People are stealing from the middle class," a protester says
- Bloomberg says he doesn't understand what the picketing is intended to achieve
- He says authorities will defend protesters' right to demonstrate
- The New York securities sector could lose 10,000 jobs by 2012 year, report says
A group of union-backed organizations joined the loosely defined Occupy Wall Street movement again Tuesday, leaving behind the confines of New York's financial district for the posh neighborhoods that dot Manhattan's Upper East Side, according to multiple group representatives.
Crowds also swelled in Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where demonstrators waved placards and chanted slogans attacking corporate greed and social inequality.
The union-organized march, meanwhile, took protesters past the homes of well-to-do residents like billionaire David Koch, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Organizations such as UnitedNY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, and New York Communities for Change were accompanied by protesters typically based in Zuccotti Park, a privately owned park in New York's financial district.
The Upper East Side march was "in support" of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but was not organized by it, said T.J. Helmstetter, a spokesman for Working Families Party, a coalition of New York community and labor groups.
Protesters hopped on the subway, emerging at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street near Central Park, where organizers held a press conference that addressed both New York-centric themes, such as state taxes, and the movement's broader concerns of social inequity.
"We are the 99%," the group chanted, a reference to their insistence that most Americans lack the influence in their country's political and financial affairs enjoyed by the elite 1%.
"I think it's time that these people realize that people are hurting in this country and it's time to reform what's going on in Washington," said New York resident Lenore Silverstein, who attended Tuesday's march.
Emily Monroe , a North Carolina college student and marcher, said the city's wealthiest "are buying billion-dollar apartments and living lavishly, while we are just trying to sustain ourselves."
"The American dream is no longer possible because these people are stealing from the middle class," she told CNN Radio.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, said authorities will defend protesters' right to demonstrate, but he doesn't appreciate "the bashing of all of the hardworking people who live and work here."
"Our city depends on the jobs that the financial services industry provides," Bloomberg said during a news conference in the Bronx.
He added that he didn't understand what the picketing of wealthy and prominent New Yorkers is intended to achieve.
The mayor's comments coincided with a state comptroller report released Tuesday that predicts Wall Street could lose an additional 10,000 jobs by the end of next year, raising the total number of jobs lost in the securities industry since 2008 to 32,000.
Earlier, in Boston, 129 protesters were arrested during a similar demonstration Tuesday, mostly for "unlawful assembly and trespassing," said police spokesman Eddy Chrispin.
The group allegedly blocked traffic and refused to disperse while marching to "areas of the city where they hadn't been previously," he said.
Protesters have been occupying Dewey Square Park in downtown Boston, but expanded to the neighboring Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on Monday night. Protesters were given a 1:30 a.m. deadline to move back to Dewey Square. Those who did not were arrested.
The nationwide Occupy movement has been largely peaceful, though it has led to some skirmishes with police and arrests. It has also stoked fervent public debate, including among politicians. Democrats have generally offered sympathy for protesters' concerns while several Republicans, among them 2012 presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, have described the demonstrations as "class warfare."
The movement shows few signs of slowing down. Rallies and marches have been held in numerous towns and cities in recent days, with many more planned.
That includes a "Call to Action Against Banks" planned for Saturday, which New York's Occupy Wall Street announced on its Facebook site.
"No longer will banks take our homes. No longer will banks rob students of our future. No longer will banks destroy the environment. No longer will banks fund the misery of war. No longer will banks cause massive unemployment. And no longer will banks create and profit from economic crisis without a struggle," according to the online message Monday.
It then urges people to "visit your local Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase (branches) and let them know, we will not allow business as usual."
"We. Will. Occupy. Everywhere," the posting ends.