Occupy Wall Street Movement Holding Strong In Bay Area

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The wave of protests that began with “Occupy Wall Street” in September is continuing to expand in the Bay Area, and activists began camping out in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza Monday.

PICTURES: Bay Area Occupy Protests

The protests are intended to draw attention to the widening gap between rich and poor in the U.S. and widespread unemployment. More than 850 people had said on Facebook that they would attend the beginning of Occupy Oakland Monday.

The Oakland demonstration comes on the heels of a similar demonstration in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and in front of City Hall in San Jose. A march in support of “Occupy SF” drew hundreds to San Francisco’s Financial District on Wednesday afternoon.

On Monday, Police arrested an “Occupy SF”  protester in front of the bank. Witnesses said two officers approached a man sitting at the corner of Spear and Market streets after smelling marijuana smoke. The man extinguished the marijuana before being asked for his medical marijuana card, they said.

After the man attempted to leave the scene he was reportedly tackled by officers.

A Federal Reserve police officer said the man was arrested for assault.

San Jose police have tried to persuade the protesters to pack up their tents near City Hall, but the group is staying strong.

“We, The People, Are Too Big To Fail,” read a sign from Paul Johnson of Santa Clara, who said he was happy to lend his voice to the movement. “It’s a good opportunity to get out and practice a little democracy.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Shannon Rupright, who has a good union job, said she fears that the rising cost of education will begin to really hurt the country. That’s why she came out to join the protests in San Jose Monday.

“How do you expect to pull this country out of the rut that it’s in if we can’t afford to educate ourselves,” said Rupright. “That’s the future of this country.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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