Michael Bloomberg Shows Comedic Talent
By Michael Howard Saul
- Nathan Hendrix of
Austin, Texas, lies on a mattress in Zucotti Park on Thursday, as the
‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstration continued for the second week.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised the specter of shutting
down a two-week long demonstration on Wall Street, telling protesters
who are speaking out against greed and corruption that the banks deserve
Asked directly on his weekly radio show Friday whether he will allow
the protesters to stay indefinitely, Bloomberg replied, “We’ll see.”
“People have the right to protest, but we also have to make sure that
people who don’t want to protest can go down the streets unmolested,”
said Bloomberg, a 69-year-old billionaire who earned his personal
fortune selling financial information to the business community.
“We have to make sure that while you have a right to say what you
want to say, people who want to say something very different have a
right to say that as well. That’s what’s great about this country,”
Bloomberg added. “The right to protest is part of our culture. It’s also
true that there are other societal concerns.”
The Bloomberg administration’s handling of the protest has come under
intense criticism. In recent days, the New York Police Department
opened an internal investigation into allegations that a supervising
officer inappropriately pepper-sprayed a group of people participating
this past weekend in the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration.
In his remarks Friday, Bloomberg suggested that the protesters are terribly misguided in terms of their policy perspective.
“The protesters are protesting against people who make $40 or $50,000
a year and are struggling to make ends meet,” he said. “That’s the
bottom line. Those are the people that work on Wall Street and in the
According to the protesters’ website, “Occupy Wall Street” is a
leaderless movement of people from many different backgrounds. “The one
thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer
tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” the website says.
Defending the banks that appear to be the target of some of the
protesters’ ire, the mayor said, “We need the banks. If the banks don’t
go out and make loans, we will not come out of our economic problems. We
will not have jobs.”
The mayor acknowledged that the banks played a role in the economic
downturn, but he insisted, “We always tend to blame the wrong people.”
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