Occupy Phoenix gets training in preparation for protest

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by Fields Moseley

Bio | Email | Follow: @fieldsmoseley

azfamily.com

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 6:43 AM

PHOENIX -- There's a growing protest movement against corporate greed and government inaction. It's called Occupy Wall Street, and it's spreading to Western states, including Arizona. 

There was an event Thursday in Flagstaff and there is another one Saturday in Tempe.  An even bigger protest is planned next week in Phoenix.

What started as a dozen protesters in New York's financial district has swelled to thousands with protesters confronting police in some cases, the conflicts often turning violent as police push back.

It's the kind of conflict the people behind Occupy Phoenix would like to avoid.  Nick Katkevich is teaching potential protesters how to avoid it.

“I think we're seeing now there are a lot of people that want constructive change in this country,” Katkevich said.

It is unclear how many might take part in Phoenix, but they expect a sufficient crowd by Oct. 15.

Caitlin Flaherty, who just recently joined the planning committee, said they plan to stay for a while.

“It's a group of people coming together to say, 'I'm not alone. I'm not the only one that feels this way, who else will stand with me?'" Flaherty explained. "Numbers produce results, as well, but that is only the first step; the protest is just the first step.”

“They hate corporations; they hate capitalism,” blared conservative political pundit Sean Hannity earlier this week.

The Occupy movement has been criticized by pundits as unpatriotic and lacking focus.

But some people outside the movement feel they are underestimating exactly how many people might be able to relate.

“I think they represent a big population of American people,” Jahan Jones said.

“It's definitely going to be eye opening for many people,” Mark Weldon said.

“I think they're really doing the essence of what most common people fear to do,” Shamier Smith said.  “Speak their voice.”
   
This group, Occupy Phoenix, seems to operate loosely with no appointed leader. They hope to build more excitement for the event using social media and have more people join after the initial protest.
 

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