In Saranac Lake Thursday, a group of 50 protesters gathered at Riverside Park in a show of solidarity with the thousands of demonstrators who've been occupying public parks around the country.
The Occupy Saranac Lake rally was a peaceful protest organized by the progressive group Voters for Change. As Chris Knight reports, it brought together a wide range of people, all focused around the same message of economic inequality and corporate greed.
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"I'm not here to destroy capitalism; I'm not here because I'm against capitalism," retired history teacher Phil Newton told the crowd. "I'm here because I want to see a capitalism that works."
Retired history teacher Phil Newton was one of about 10 people to address the crowd at Thursday's rally. Other speakers included students from Saranac Lake High School and Paul Smith's College, along with William Duryea, one two people at the rally who were recently in New York City to partcicipate in the Occupy Wall Street protest.
"People are drawn to this movement right now because they can feel what the 1 percent have done to them, they can feel what Wall Street greed and speculation have done to them," he said. "They can feel what being unemployed means because they're unemployed, or they have children who are unemployed, or they have a sister or a brother or a good friend who is unemployed. That's the message we need to stick to now."
Earlier, the protestors stood together along one of the main roads through the village, carrying signs that read "Tax the Rich" and "Corporations Are Not People."
Nancy Murphy said Wall Street needs to be held accountable for its role in triggering the recession."People have come to understand that this recession was caused by totally irresponsible activity on the part of the investment bankers," she said. "Now we want those folks and other rich folks to pay their fair share of taxes."
For other protesters, the rally was an opportunity to teach their children a lesson in democracy. Scott Van Laer brought his two kids, ages 3 and 5, to the protest.
"I want them to learn that we can make a change and your voice can be heard," Van Laer said. "That's what's going on around the country right now. I want to instill that in them at a young age."
Organizers said the response they received from passersby was "very positive." Many of the people who showed up for this rally planned to attend an Occupy Plattsburgh protest that was scheduled for Saturday afternoon in the city's Trinity Park.
For North Country Public Radio, I'm Chris Knight in Saranac Lake.