Occupy New Haven officially began Saturday afternoon, with several hundred people gathering on the New Haven Green. Protestors, armed with homemade signs, tents and a guitar, marched around the Green for a half hour before holding a rally at its center to mark the start of the Elm City’s “occupation.”
While some critics have accused the Occupy movement of not knowing what it wants, protestors interviewed disagreed. Occupier Randy Laist said he came to express support for “humane and rational” social causes, while Jason Kulas described his top four demands as something to counteract the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, banking reform, the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and income tax reform.
An hour after the protests started, the first Occupy Occupy New Haven counter-protestors appeared, wielding colorful signs and attracting a few members of Occupy New Haven. Phillip Shearin said he had a civil discussion with Occupy Occupy protestor Elizabeth Henry ’14 and supports their presence at the protests.
“I think it’s wonderful that they’re out here,” Shearin said. “They have just as much right to air their concerns as Occupy New Haven.”
New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said that the protestors had been “great,” and that there had been no issues thus far. He lamented his choice of shoes, though, as he “wore the wrong shoes for a march.”
Protestors said the occupation has no planned end.