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Occupy Detroit Battles a New Bridge and Corporate Greed

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Occupy Detroit Battles a New Bridge and Corporate Greed

Sickened by social injustice, corporate greed and a huge gulf between the rich and the poor, hundreds of protesters marched through Grand Circus Park in Detroit on Friday 14 October, 2011 in an act of rebellion against “issues that are crushing the people of Detroit.”

The protest has been named  “Occupy Detroit”, a term initially coined to refer to the group of protestors who occupied Wall Street in New York City in September of this year.

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests were fueled with similar ammunition as the more recent demonstrations in Detroit, namely a resentment of governmental privilege provided to the wealthiest of American society.

Occupy Michigan in Lansing and Detroit

Despite being a largely peaceful protest, Occupy Wall Street rapidly gathered a following of like-minded grassroots activists nationwide, and spawned a breeding ground for the “Occupy Michigan in Lansing and Detroit” campaign.

The first of the Occupy Detroit protests saw a strong turnout of more than 1,000 activists from a wide cross-section of Detroit’s working community, including professionals, students, employed and unemployed marching with banners denouncing budget cuts and social inequality, while collectively chanting “We are the 99 percent.”

In May of this year, the Department of Labor reported that Detroit’s city unemployment rate was at 20 percent. Its consistently high levels of unemployment and foreclosure rates contributed to Detroit being placed 15th on the Forbes annual list of America’s 20 most miserable cities.

Given the high levels of unemployment in Detroit and air of social unrest, it is hardly surprising that much of the anger demonstrated on the Friday 14th October protests were targeted at MattyMoroun, a well-known “bully” in Detroit, whose personal interests are allegedly standing in the way of potential jobs in the city.


“Manny Moroun” Offers Protesters a Target

According to several reports, Manuel Moroun, more commonly known as “Matty” Moroun, the American businessman and owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit with Windsor in Canada, has spent almost $5 million on advertising in opposition to the New International Trade Crossing, formerly the Detroit River International Crossing.

The New International Trade Crossing would have created an estimated 30,000 jobs in Detroit, but was abruptly brought to an end in a recent state Senate committee decision.

Further reports have suggested that Moroun spent $1.5 million of his family’s personal money in the 2009-10 campaign cycle to state and congressional candidates who could have a say on the bridge.

The sudden death of a project that would have given 30,000 people of Detroit a means of feeding their families understandably ignited even greater anger among an already restless community.

Speaking to PR Newswire, 27-year-old Kila Mosley of Detroit offered remarks that accurately sums up the crux of the Occupy protests spawning across America.

“Republicans in Lansing are just like Republicans in Washington, they are bought and sold by corporations and CEOs. In Washington, they killed the American Jobs Act and in Lansing. We are the 99%! We deserve jobs. We demand that our interests come first with OUR government.”

“Arab Springs” protests saw a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occur in the Arab world this year. Subsequently, the English riots of 2011 saw widespread rioting, looting and arson by an angered mob throughout England.

Similar to those uprisings, the Occupy Wall Street and subsequent “Occupy Michigan in Lansing and Detroit” demonstrations have seen social media play an active role.

Occupy Detroit has its own Facebook page, in which followers of the protests can be updated and incited about the movement’s actions.

Its presence may have been brief so far, but the Occupy Detroit’s Facebook page has already collected 8,446 “like this” votes, proving the widespread approval of the Occupy protestors’ goals to embolden greater social equality.

Image Credits:

(1) BET
(2) Metro Times

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