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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Demonstrators protest 10th anniversary of Afghan War, Wall Street in Washington

WASHINGTON — A sun-soaked noon rally within blocks of the White House brought out hundreds of protesters Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War.

On Freedom Square, sign-carrying demonstrators banged drums, sang and cheered a series of fiery speeches by anti-war activists, who decried the federal government’s continued funding of the Afghan and Iraqi wars while calling for cuts to social programs for the elderly, poor and people with disabilities.

Planning for the rally began six months ago, but the event’s timing dovetailed perfectly with nationwide protests in support of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York. There were similar protests against income inequality and perceived corporate profiteering Thursday in Austin, Texas, Sacramento, Calif., Houston and other cities.

During a morning news conference, President Barack Obama said little about the Afghan War entering its 11th year, but he did give a shout-out to the growing wave of protests.

“I think people are frustrated and, you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” he said.

That sentiment was shared by a protester who identified herself only as Andrea E., a single mother of two who is facing foreclosure on her home in the Philadelphia area.

She said a divorce and a loss of hours on her waitressing job made it impossible to keep up with her mortgage. Her bank lowered her monthly payments while it considered a loan modification. Ultimately, however, it refused to do so and demanded that she pay the past-due amount, about $4,000.

“I refuse to give them another dime until they modify my mortgage,” she said, arguing that she was never late with a payment. After attending the Wall Street rally in New York, Andrea, 34, said she’s hoping for a “peaceful revolution” in which corporations — such as her bank — grow hearts.

“I’m sure that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but I hope it does,” she said. “We need the middle class to be back where it should be and not dwindling away like it is.”

Bo Considine, a 60-year-old business analyst from Maryland, took the day off to join the Washington protest. Considine said he was upset that the tax system treated corporate profits more favorably than it did income from labor. And in a reference to the Tea Party movement, Considine said he was tired of watching the squeaky wheels get all the grease.

“I can’t put up with having my voice shouted down anymore and having those people who behave most aggressively and uncompromisingly set and maintain the agenda. I feel like this is the beginning of the silent majority finally saying enough is enough,” Considine said.

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