MIAMI (AP) - Hundreds of participants were expected to protest corporate influence in politics and social inequality in nearly a dozen Occupy Wall Street protests happening across Florida Saturday, a day after four protesters were arrested in Gainesville for trespassing.
Over the past month, the Occupy Wall Street protests have spread from New York to cities across the United States and around the world. Similar events were being held in Florida both Friday and Saturday, from Miami to Pensacola.
In South Florida, at least 500 were expected to attend a rally in downtown Miami. Another group would be at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
In central Florida, Brook Hines was among more the nearly 1,500 who arrived Saturday morning for a march past banks in downtown Orlando.
"I felt like this was really helpful and about the most positive grass-roots activity I've seen in a long time," said the 25-year-old marketing and public relations employee. "I think that it's not the same kind of protest, attitude or movement as we've seen in the past."
Families, senior citizens and college students held signs that read: "Justice for the Poor' and 'Veterans for Peace.'
Joe Navarro, 28, a college student, was among a large crowd that waved signs at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Friday chanting "We are the 99 percent" as passing cars honked.
"Everybody's fed up," he told the Tallahassee Democrat (http://bit.ly/oIGHXi ). "It's that simple." Other students said they were angry about rising college costs and a lack of jobs.
State Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, waved an "Occupy Tallahassee" sign at the event. He said he wanted to show support for people "who are just tired of big business not looking out for the common man."
Four protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing in Gainesville early Friday morning after the city park had closed, the Gainesville Sun reported (http://bit.ly/pgshQF ).