Occupy San Diego Sounds Off Downtown

San Diego's Civic Center Plaza and downtown financial district were mobbed with demonstrators late Friday afternoon, as the local incarnation of "Occupy Wall Street" loudly asserted itself.

Police who monitored the event estimated the turnout was about 1500 people during the 12-block march into the heart of downtown from Children’s Park, where many returned to spend the night.

There were no reported arrests or unruly incidents as sign-carrying demonstrators expressed outrage over the state of the economy and chronic high unemployment.

"We were sold out," went one of many chants aimed at financiers and politicians. "We say, 'Fight back'!"

And referring to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans who control 40 percent of the nation's wealth, there were shouts of "We are the 99 percent!"

Speakers denounced lenders who won't lend, lawmakers who can be bought, and the erosion of the middle class while the plight of the poor worsens.

But many said they're determined to see that reason speaks louder than rhetoric.

"If we're talking about 'Stop corporate greed' -- which seems to be one point that's out there -- well, what is it?" said Eastlake resident Keith Warrick. "We've got to come to the bargaining table and talk about those things. Wall Street corruption, and the positions they're often times taking."

"Occupy San Diego" organizers said their focus is on educating the public and reaching a 'consensus' on a list of demands to pose to government, banks and corporations.

"We won't align ourselves with any parties right now, whether it be Democrats, Republicans, the Tea Party," explained Pacific Beach resident Kali Katt. "We really want to stay away from drawing lines in the sand, and excluding people. We really want to be an inclusive place."

Others offered concerns about younger generations facing a dim future unless the economy turns a corner and Main Street gets a break from Wall Street and Washington.

"We have kids getting out of college who spend an ungodly amount of money for their education," said Oceanside resident Rick Channell. "And then you have these professional politicians who came out straight out of college who got law degrees, but never used them.

"They don't know what it's like to be out here, to not know if you're going to have a job, or if you're going to be able to eat, of if somebody's going to repossess your car."

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