It’s been 24 days since the Occupy Wall Street protests began, and the goals of the movement are not yet clearly defined. Despite that fact, the non-violent demonstrations against social inequality have spread to major cities across the country.
Over the weekend, the Occupy Chicago movement became the first spin-off of Occupy Wall Street to announce specific demands. They include repealing the Bush-era tax cuts and prosecuting "Wall Street criminals." The protests in Chicago expanded Monday to include local union members.
The demonstrations in Chicago are taking place primarily in the financial district.
Across the country, people from all walks of life are joining the movement. They say the one thing they have in common is that they are part of the 99 percent, and they are fed up with the corruption of the top 1 percent. That 1 percent refers to the banks and corporate America.
Iraq war veteran Matthew Haley says he joined the protest because he is worried about losing his GI benefits.
“When the country is about to go into default, the first thing they'll take are veterans' benefits," Haley says. "I'm going to school because of the GI Bill that I earned. That will go first because G** forbid that we take away from the bailouts that we paid these corporations,” he says.
Monday night, Occupy Chicago protestors gathered outside of the Oriental Theater in Chicago. The event is part of Chicago Ideas Week which features keynote speakers Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.