Although slow to catch on in Cortez, the Occupy Wall Street movement gained local momentum Friday when approximately 25 people gathered downtown to advocate for political and economic equality.
Im here to support the spirit behind the Occupy Wall Street movements that are happening around the country and to show that we need some sort of local energy and commitment to similar ideas here, said Curtis Bump Heeter.
Heeter said the group will continue to gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. in Cortez City Park. He encouraged more to join.
Wendy Schwarting said the reasons people are gathering vary from peace, to equal taxation and representation.
We want our government back, she said. We want it to be for the people and by the people instead of for the few, for the 1 percent, for the elite. ... The more prosperous are actually ruling the 99 percent, and we just want equality. We pay our taxes. Corporations should pay their taxes.
Vietnam veteran Jim Skvorc said the demonstration also is for the constitutional right for people to peaceably assemble.
This is one of the few ways we can express our opinion, is by gathering in a group, he said. It was part of what this country was founded on. This country was not founded on corporations. We the people never meant corporations, and thats why a lot of us are out here.
Skvorc said it is unfortunate a U.S. Marine returned from two tours in Iraq to be hit in the face with a tear gas canister, referring to the critical injury of 24-year-old Scott Olsen in Oakland, Calif., during a similar protest there.
Going back, for quite a ways to Vietnam, a lot of the wars were fought for corporate greed and not for 99 percent of the population, Skvorc said.
Fridays gathering took place at the intersection of Market and Main streets in front of U.S. Rep. Scott Tiptons office. Tipton staff were not present in the office.
Reach Reid Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.