Well over one hundred demonstrators waved signs and gave thumbs up to passing honking cars at Highways 101 at 20 in downtown Newport Wednesday. It was the first emergence of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement sweeping across the country to appear in Newport, if not the Oregon Coast. Similar demonstrations were staged in Portland and Salem over the past weeks, and today it was Newport’s turn. The signs in the air protested America’s recent concentration of wealth in the hands of the county’s 400 richest families, which the IRS and the Congressional Budget Office reports now control nearly half the the country’s wealth. Others protested the reduction is spending for education and programs to help those who have lost their jobs, their homes and now face a very uncertain future.
Of all the traffic going by, about ten percent were honking their horns in support, with many others in their cars just staring at the crowds with a variety of expressions on their faces. One man stopped at the light and chided the crowd who yelled “If you don’t have a job, it’s your fault.” One protester in the yelled back, “right, and you could be next.”
Chant leaders had the protesters yelling “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” This is what democracy looks like,” and others.
Organizers of the protest says they’re planning another demonstration for next Wednesday, with a possible street march from Nye Beach to Highway 101 @ Highway 20.