Koch-funded activists to protest Occupy

Right-wing group says it's time "someone stood up to" heavily policed, regularly stood-up-to OWS

Published September 20, 2012 5:36PM (EDT)

It seems an odd choice, to protest against Occupy Wall Street; police forces around the country have already done a thorough job of taking on Occupy groups throughout the year. However, billionaire Koch brothers' right-wing advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is still concerned that Occupy needs dealing with.

On Thursday in New York's midtown, Americans for Prosperity activists are gathering for a protest in a leg of their "Failing Agenda Bus Tour," aimed at disavowing government policies that would increase national debt. On Thursday, however, the free market fans will take specific aim at Occupy Wall Street. A statement from Steve Lonegan, Americans for Prosperity's New Jersey state director, said of Occupy participants, "These are people who despise free enterprise. They are not attacking Wall Street. They are attacking the very freedoms that everyday Americans cherish to pursue their own dreams and succeed.”

Around 7,500 individuals have been arrested in the past year for involvement in various Occupy activities, including nearly 200 arrests during the last week for the Occupy anniversary marches and rallies in New York. Aggressive policing of Occupy has drawn broad criticism, including from a United Nations special rapporteur on human rights. But Americans for Prosperity has had enough of such leniency; as Lonegan stresses in his release, "It’s time that someone stood up to the Occupy Wall Street mob.”

It is unclear how many people are expected at Thursday's protest against protesters, but the Koch-funded advocacy group claims to have a national network of 2 million supporters.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Americans For Prosperity Koch Brothers New York Occupy Occupy Wall Street