PORTLAND, Ore. -- Officials in Phoenix are watching other cities across the U.S. as they prepare for the Occupy Phoenix protests, which are scheduled to begin October 15.
Protests were held in several major cities around the country last week, the largest being in Portland, Oregon. Protesters started gathering just after noon on Thursday at Portland's Waterfront Park beneath the Burnside Bridge. At around 2:30 p.m., thousands walked city streets to Pioneer Courthouse Square, which they occupied for about an hour before marching through city streets to two city parks.
"The corporations have taken our futures away from us and we're just not going to stand by and let that happen," one protester told a reporter from KGW.
"We are not the problem," another man said. "The problems are the bankers on Wall Street that destroyed this economy."
The protest prompted complaints from some business leaders. Many opted to close early due to the rally. Others, like the downtown Apple store, stayed open but workers were urged to skip their breaks and stay inside. Wells Fargo Bank hired extra security officers over concerns it could be a target.
"If you listen to their conversations, there's no real leadership. They're leading by committee so understanding what they want or are are trying to achieve, I don't think anyone does right now," said William Palmer, chairman of the downtown retail council.
TriMet briefly halted Green and Yellow MAX service along the Portland Transit Mall on 5th and 6th avenues, due to the protesters.
The occupation protest is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, now in their third week, which have spurred other similar demonstrations in major cities like Boston and Los Angeles, all to protest corporate greed.
By Thursday afternoon, nearly 7,000 people had "liked" the Occupy Portland Facebook page. A similar page for Occupy Salem noted that people plan to take over a park next to the Capitol Monday.
In New York, 700 people were arrested over the weekend marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. The protesters range from college students worried about their job prospects to middle-age workers who have been recently terminated.
Google Map: Occupy Events across U.S.