POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011 - 8:59pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 30, 2011 - 12:02am
EL PASO - The Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading and it reached Downtown El Paso Monday afternoon.
Occupy El Paso protesters are standing up against what they call corporate greed and economic inequality.
The protest started at noon Monday at San Jacinto Plaza with about 20 protesters, but that number is expected to grow. The city said it has granted the protesters a special permit that allows them to camp out overnight in the park until November 12th.
"We're not calling for the downfall of Capitalism or anything like that," said protester Xavier Miranda.
He is a local school teacher who says he's upset over funding cuts, growing class sizes and a diluted cultural curriculum.
"That's one of my main motivations to be here," he said. Other protesters reject the current financial system saying big corporations have too much control over the government.
"With wealth controlling our government, it influences how candidates are funded and who can run for government," said another protester, Liz Furman. “What we see is that average people don't have a lot of say in what's going on."
Most protesters are demanding some sort of change.
"I support this idea and this movement," said Alicia Quiroz. “The system is broken and it needs to be fixed or else more people are going to get screwed over."
The protesters say they plan to occupy San Jacinto Plaza for about the next three weeks in shifts because that's how long the city permit allows
"We expect it to get bigger everyday," said Gilbert Gonzalez. “We understand that people have to work and have school and it's hard to be here every day."
Gonzalez works and goes to school. But he plans to be here for as many days as he can. He's even camping out on the plaza for the first day of the protest. He showed us his tent and supplies. He encourages anyone to come down and join the movement
"We'll be here 24 days or more. We're hoping they extend that permit because we're not leaving until things start changing."
The city's permit overrides the park curfew hours of 10pm-6am. That's why protesters are allowed to camp out overnight.
Protesters chose the location because it's right across the street from some major corporate banks.