Updated 10/10/2011 05:42 PM
Mayor Affirms "Occupy Wall Street" Protesters' Freedom Of Expression
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors are allowed to express themselves so long as they stay within the law.
Speaking at the Columbus Day Parade, the mayor said he had no idea how long the demonstrations will continue, but said city officials will enforce their laws if needed.
The demonstrations, which are now in their fourth week, received visits from several celebrities on Monday, including actor Susan Sarandon and rapper Kanye West.
However, the common people who joined the protest during Monday's warm weather said they wanted to protest what they saw as deep-seated economic inequalities in U.S. society.
"The thing that I find most interesting is that I'm a social studies teacher, I teach community and social development, and that's what I see happening down here," said a school teacher who brought her two young children to the protest. "I want my kids, instead of learning from a book, to experience it."
"You look at billions, trillions spent on corporate welfare programs, those pretty much offset the capitalist market by altering what private investors want," said a protester. "The federal government's terrible at picking winners, and that's pretty much what they do, are these corporate welfare programs."
The Reverend Al Sharpton expressed his support for the movement on Monday by broadcasting his nationally syndicated radio show from Zuccotti Park, the protesters' base site.
On his website, Sharpton said the broadcast was aimed at showing people the Wall Street protestors are concerned about the economy and jobs.
By Monday evening, no major arrests of protesters had been made, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at the Columbus Day Parade that there was no need to crack down on the protest.
"If you don't break the law, you don't have a problem with the police," said Police C Ray Kelly. "If you were to block a bridge, or if you were going to go out in traffic and block traffic, we're going to have to take action. As long as the demonstrators abide by the law, they're going to get along fine with police."
On Wednesday, police said about 28 "Occupy Wall Street" marchers were arrested since they had charged barricades.