‘Occupy' Movement Comes to Dallas

About 200 demonstrators surround Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

A protest that began with a few dozen demonstrators in New York City has grown to thousands in cities across the country, including Dallas.

As the group flooded Wall Street in New York for the 19th-straight day, about 200 people rallied at Occupy Dallas on Thursday.

The demonstrators marched from Pike Park near the American Airlines Center to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on Pearl Street in downtown Dallas.

"And I know that we're with our brothers and sisters on Wall Street right now, showing that there's not just a small group but an entire nation behind them," one man said to the crowd to cheers.

Occupy Wall Street is described on OccupyWallSt.org as a "leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent."

"Everybody's voices need to be heard, not just the 1 percent," Jackie Griffith said. "I mean, look at the diverse age group here -- so many people, so many people in the middle of the week. People want to be heard."

The protesters, who were fired up about many national issues, engaged in a peaceful demonstration.

Leaders briefed the rest of the group before getting started and first gathered in the park to establish its main message -- that it represents 99 percent of the population, and the wealthy are the 1 percent who have too much power.

Protesters also aired complaints about various issues from the health care system to government bailouts for corporations to unemployment.

"Having these men and women come home who have been overseas, to come home and be unemployed and face homelessness is beyond irresponsible of our government," Tristan Tucker said.

Participants listed numerous reasons for why they attended.

"I came out here to fight for the people so that way we can end corporate greed," Amanda Cuenca said.

"We're hoping to change the whole government system, hopefully tomorrow," Liomara Diaz said. "You never know; [I'm] staying positive."

"We're protesting everything, you know, like them giving everything to the 1 percent, the rich 1 percent," Andrea Nauman said.

People carried signs as varied as "I work to be poor;" "don't Tase me bro;" "people before money, love before greed, wake up and see;" "we are under assault by tyranny;" and "99% can't be wrong."

Bernard Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University, said he believes the popularity of social media has fueled the turnout.

"This is a movement that doesn't really have a core, at least not yet," he said.

But Weinstein said it could mean trouble for the movement if everyone isn't on the same page.

"Unless there can develop a stronger focus for this movement, I think it will just dissipate," he said.

Weinstein said it's possible that a clearer vision could develop now that labor and teachers unions have joined the demonstrations in New York.

The New York group is urging people to "assert your power," according to the NYC General Assembly's "Declaration of the Occupation of New York City."

"Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone," the group says in its declaration.

NBC 5's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.

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