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Occupy Protesters Demonstrate at Presidential Debates

Jonathan Lynch
Occupy New Hampshire outside Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College

Members of Occupy New Hampshire returned to Manchester Saturday to demonstrate outside of the Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College and spread their message of economic inequality.

Nearly five months after Occupy New Hampshire’s last tents were torn down in Veteran’s Park, the ninety-nine percenters returned to Manchester to demonstrate against what they perceive to be growing economic inequality across the nation.

This time around, though, protesters hope to garner the attention of the national media, who have descended on New Hampshire for the first in the nation primary.

According to Occupy organizer, Michael Grosse, they’re already succeeding:

“Well I think we’ve already gotten a lot of coverage when you really think about it...When a group of about 30 people being able to get national press attention for an event, that’s an accomplishment right there.”

Grosse recently appeared on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown to discuss the protests, and says that reporters from the New York Times and other national outlets have also interviewed him about the demonstrations.

Saturday night, protesters staged a high profile demonstration outside of the Republican Debate at Saint Anselm’s.

Referring to it as a “funeral procession for the American Dream,” protesters quietly marched behind pall bearers carrying a mock coffin.

But when the procession entered the cordoned off demonstration area,  silence gave way to slogan shouting and bullhorn sirens, as the demonstrators competed with Republican candidate supporters...

A common criticism leveled at the Occupy movement is that it lacks a unified message and cohesive organization. Those sentiments were echoed by Newt Gingrich supporter Dan Berringer of Nashua, who watched the demonstration .

“I just want to know if they have any real opinions or if they’re just trying to make noise.”

“You don’t think they have a direct message?”

“Not really, no. For example they say ‘get money out of politics’, but how exactly do you do that and maintain any form of liberty?”

But Gunner Scott, a self-identified transgender activist from Occupy Boston, says that the prosperity gap in America is exactly what drives him and other protesters to turn out at these events:

“For me, the lens of economic injustice and economic inequality is what brought me into this movement and that’s how I can connect to folks who are not in the LBGT community in the occupy movement.”

After this Tuesday, when the national press moves on to South Carolina, Occupy NH will lose its expanded audience. But protestor Michael Grosse  remains confident the Occupy movement has enough steam to garner attention:

“Do you think this is going to continue well into this year?”

"I have no doubt that this will continue in New Hampshire for sure because we’ve already been operating without an encampment and we’re growing every week we have more towns with more members.”