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updated: 10/22/2011 6:24 PM

50 protesters 'Occupy' Naperville

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  • Mike Barr of Aurora talks Saturday about changing the mindset of the Democratic Party during an Occupy Naperville rally. Roughly 50 people participated in the two-hour protest that centered on dissatisfaction with the economic system and the influence of large corporations on elected officials.

       Mike Barr of Aurora talks Saturday about changing the mindset of the Democratic Party during an Occupy Naperville rally. Roughly 50 people participated in the two-hour protest that centered on dissatisfaction with the economic system and the influence of large corporations on elected officials.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Tom Cordaro, right, of Aurora shows his support Saturday for the Occupy Naperville movement. Organizers said they hope to continue their protests against "corporate greed" every Saturday in the city's downtown.

       Tom Cordaro, right, of Aurora shows his support Saturday for the Occupy Naperville movement. Organizers said they hope to continue their protests against "corporate greed" every Saturday in the city's downtown.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

A group of roughly 50 Occupy movement supporters marched and chanted Saturday through the streets of downtown Naperville during the first such protest in the city.

Their grievances were as varied as their ages, occupations and employment statuses, but dissatisfaction with the economic system and the influence of large corporations on elected officials echoed through many of their comments.

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"There's far too much outside money in government," said Kevin St. Clair of Naperville, a 19-year-old College of DuPage student.

"All that money buys the politicians," said 31-year-old Zackery Fall of Naperville, who works part-time "moving boxes."

"We've got to get the money that pollutes the government out of the government," said Frank Goetz of Wheaton, a retired engineer.

Occupy Naperville protesters began spreading their message at 10 a.m. in front of PNC bank at Ogden Avenue and Washington Street. As their numbers grew to around 50, the protesters split in two groups and walked about 10 blocks down both sides of Washington to Jefferson Avenue.

Some passing motorists honked as protesters made their way to Jefferson and Main Street where they held a brief open-mic session to let individuals share their reasons for supporting the Occupy movement.

The movement began last month in New York City and since has spread to major cities including Chicago and suburbs such as Aurora and Elgin.

Clarice Hearne of Joliet, a music teacher at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, said she supports the movement's focus on economic change because she fears for the future of her students.

"I'm lucky, but I see those students I'm teaching and I think 'What are their job prospects?'" Hearne said.

Naperville police cars drove past protesters a couple times, but the event was peaceful. Still, protesters heard a few shouts of opposition like "Move to Cuba," or "Get a job."

Protesters began the walk back to Ogden Avenue and Washington Street at 11:45 a.m. and ended their first "occupation" of the city slightly after noon.

Occupy Naperville organizers plan to stage another protest next Saturday at the same time and locations. Some protesters said the weekly events will go on indefinitely.

"This is going to be big," Fall said. "And it's not going to stop."

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