Activists rally at US debate

2012-01-08 08:43

New York - Protesters inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered at the Republican presidential debate on Saturday to blame "corporate greed" for economic turmoil being felt around the globe.

Dan Garrett, who travelled from New Haven, Connecticut, with his six-year-old daughter, Abigail, carried a sign reading, "Republicans love the rich."

"Our country is at a crossroads," said the 51-year-old property manager, "And the Republican Party has become more and more extreme. They're being controlled by the Tea Party."

Twenty other protesters had carpooled from Portland, Maine, and planned to stagger their return home to be able to make as much of a message splash before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary this Tuesday.

They also were inspired by the Occupy movement, which is known by the slogan, "We are the 99 percent," a reference to income disparities.

Desiree Tanguay, a 19-year-old activist from Portland, said she'd come to "point out the ridiculousness of party politics," adding, "it creates divisions and nothing ever gets done."

Protesters were corralled, along with advocates for individual Republican candidates, into a lot not far from the building at Saint Anselm College where the presidential candidates prepared to debate.

Though it was unlikely the candidates heard the protesters, Lydia Simas, a 30-year-old shoe salesperson from Peterborough, New Hampshire, saw value in her participation.

"I want to end oppression, classism, racism and sexism," Simas said. "People are exploited against for the richest one percent. Being here lets me get the message out."