"Occupy" fever hits small-town Michigan

More than 100 took to the streets in Niles, Mich., on Wednesday in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement

By Peter Finocchiaro
Published October 13, 2011 7:50PM (EDT)

Move over New York, Boston and Seattle. Occupy Niles has officially launched.

More than 100 residents of Niles, Michigan -- a small town in the southwestern corner of the state, with a population of 11,599, according to the 2010 census -- protested in front of City Hall on Wednesday, an act inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the Niles Daily Star:

Cars honked driving past the rally on Main Street, as the protestors chanted “tax the greedy to feed the needy” and “we are the 99 percent,” referencing their belief that the wealthiest 1 percent of the country thrive while the working class struggles.

Many protestors discussed rampant unemployment and the widening gap between rich and poor in the country.
They held signs, reading “Greed kills,” “Corporate welfare has to go,” and “Want your grandpa working till he dies?” There was even a man playing a djembe drum.

The August 2011 unemployment rate in Niles-Benton Harbor (a metropolitan statistical area) was 10.2, over a point above the national average (9.1 percent), although a point lower than Michigan's statewide rate (11.2 percent).

Peter Finocchiaro

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