Occupy Aspen returns Saturday | AspenTimes.com

Occupy Aspen returns Saturday

Chadwick Bowman
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – This weekend will show whether the Occupy Aspen movement is gaining momentum like other national and worldwide protests.

Organizers are planning a second rally starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Wagner Park, joining the angry outcry against the financial system, which protesters say is broken. They also claim there is a consistent flow of wealth toward the highest income earners, “the 1 percent.”

The last organized protest took place Oct. 10 at Wagner Park. Few supporters showed up for the event, but those who did remained at the park until it closed.

Saturday’s rally is intentionally scheduled on the weekend to draw more demonstrators. Because the first rally was on a Monday, supporters said those working-class individuals, also known as “the 99 percent,” were not able to attend because they were at work.

Occupy Aspen has become more organized with the use of social media and a stronger effort to coordinate with other potential supporters, organizers said.

“There’s more awareness,” said Jeannie Perry, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s not going away.”

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The Aspen movement has created a website complete with a grievance board and links to other happenings around the country within the “Occupy” protests.

Also, the movement has a Facebook page, as well as two Facebook event pages. Perry said the ability to communicate online has been important for the worldwide movement.

“I think that’s why it’s succeeding,” Perry said. “Nobody can really stamp it out. You put one fire out, and another one pops up.”

Perry also said she has coordinated with Blanca O’Leary, chairwoman of the Pitkin County Democratic Party. O’Leary said that she supports the Occupy Aspen protests, and she has kept her members up to date with its happenings. She said she plans to attend the event.

“Contrary to popular belief, Aspen has a majority of the middle-income earners [here],” O’Leary said. “They are directly affected by the economic downtown of our economy.”

Perry also said that turnout might be higher for this rally since an anonymous donor will provide the protesters with food from New York Pizza.

However, it is not likely that the peaceful protest will grow large and unruly, like elsewhere in Colorado and across the country. There has been police intervention at many “Occupy” protests, including Denver, where police arrested 49 people last Friday and Saturday.

Aspen Police Department spokeswoman Blair Weyer said that because the first Occupy Aspen protest was small, there will be no special patrols for Saturday’s event.

“It will be business as usual, assuming it goes like the last one and there are not any safety concerns,” Weyer said.

For more information about the event, visit http://www.occupyaspen.com.

cbowman@aspentimes.com