President Barack Obama invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in voicing support for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, adding that protesters do not need to demonize financial services industry employees.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is now a growing, global movement, in which thousands of people in dozens of countries are protesting the financial services industry's excesses, as well as many nations' ensuing government bailouts to the banking and financial services sectors. The protests seek to focus attention on the pro-business, socio-economic, and political priorities of many governments as well.
The president on Sunday said that people can debate the role of government without questioning anyone's patriotism, and he defended collective bargaining for unions -- while speaking on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at a dedication to a new memorial for King, the slain civil rights leader.
King Would Keep Demonstrations on a Positive, Constructive Path
If [King] were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there, Obama said. He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.
Meanwhile, the Occupy Wall Street protests -- now in their fourth week -- have spread from their the Financial Services District in New York City (where the protests began) to other parts of New York City, to other cities in the U.S., and now to other countries. A march was held on Saturday from lower Manhattan to Times Square, resulting in more than 70 arrests, according to the New York Daily News.
Demonstrations Spread Globally - London, Rome, Toronto
Demonstrations against the global financial system have been held in London, Rome, Toronto and many other cities. About 3,000 protesters in London on Saturday held demonstrations in the city's financial district, according to the BBC.
Obama previously said that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were giving voice to Americans frustrated with the inequality caused by the country's economic policies.