ThinkProgress filed this report from Las Vegas, Nevada.On Thursday, Occupy Las Vegas staged one of their biggest protests yet with a march down the Vegas strip, starting from Caeser’s Palace. The group received some publicity from earlier in the week when they demonstrated in front of the Venetian before the CNN Republican debate. As Raw Story points out, they even drowned out CNN’s Erin Burnett, a Wall Street-friendly reporter, during a live broadcast.
ThinkProgress spoke to a number of the demonstrators before their march. Some were labor members concerned about casino union-busting; others came from wide-ranging backgrounds. A woman told us about being enslaved by student loan debt, while a retiree told us about how he is concerned with big corporations destroying democracy with lobbyists and campaign contributions. The event was even organized in part by a former mortgage broker who now struggles with her own underwater mortgage:
ATTENDEE 1: Congress and the government is literally owned by large corporations. They put so much money into the government that people, like us, have no say in how the government is run.
ATTENDEE 2: We allow 1 percent of the population to control just about everything. Someone asked me the other day, aren’t you upset that 47 percent of the people don’t pay taxes. And I said, doesn’t it upset you that 47 percent of the people don’t earn enough to be able to pay taxes?
ATTENDEE 3: We’re the only civilized first world country that doesn’t have a double digit minimum wage. [...] I shouldn’t have to sacrifice just to live on a normal basis.
ATTENDEE 4: I went to a for-profit diploma mill back in 2005. I currently owe $40,000. I’ve been paying for the last several years. I’ve paid a total of $20,000 but my student loan still sits at $40,000 because sometimes $500 a month goes to the interest and not the principle. A lot of students I know default on their student loans; I can’t. My mom co-signed on my student loans and she has disability and I can’t have her getting involved, you know.
Watch it here:
Several passers-by clapped and cheered for the Occupy Las Vegas demonstrations. However, most walked by with looks of confusion. One woman condescendingly remarked, “This is what happens with a black president.” Her friend chastised her for the comment.