Photos: Occupy Dallas

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA and the Associated Press

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 3:01 PM

DALLAS - From Wall Street in New York City to Seattle and now Dallas, the movement against Wall Street and big banks has spread nationwide.

Demonstrators have organized spin-offs of the Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday in five Texas cities, including Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and McAllen.

The group "Occupy Dallas" took to the Dallas streets this morning, with hundreds rallying together. They started their march at 9 a.m. beginning at Pike Park on Harry Hines Boulevard and arrived at their destination, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas about one mile away on Pearl Street, at about 10:15 a.m.

Hundreds of people were expected to begin a protest in downtown Austin called Occupy Austin. A group of homeless activists were also expected to set up a campsite in a nearby city park. Organizers were using social media sites to coordinate activities.

The protest against social and economic inequality began with Occupy Wall Street on September 17 and has been ongoing. The organization's website calls it a "leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions."

"We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the one percent," it reads on occupywallst.org.

Organizers say the middle class is shrinking and are demanding that politicians pay more attention to average citizens.

In Dallas, protester David Larrick Smith, of Rowlett, told News 8 he wants America to return to the days of one man and one vote where his voice will count. In his eyes, corporations are buying votes in Washington and it's affecting families in his own backyard.

Protester Caleb Coleman said he's tired of watching Washington bail out multi-million dollar corporations while he's struggling to pay off college tuition loans and credit card debt incurred from trying to afford the high cost of living.

Caleb said he's here pushing for campaign finance reform and reforming tax codes so that they're more favorable to the 99 percent of the population

On Wednesday, union members joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters, adding thousands to people to the demonstrations that began Sept. 17. With the growth of the organization, violence and arrests have occurred.

Police and protesters came face to face in New York City Wednesday night, with some heated moments. Police said they arrested those who were swarming the barricades.

Police arrested protesters in St Louis from the group OccupySTL about 12:20 a.m. Thursday at Kiener Plaza, more than two hours after the park's 10 p.m. curfew. Police spokeswoman Katie O'Sullivan says 10 were arrested, but Colleen Kelly of OccupySTL says the number was 11 because a homeless person who supports the movement was also arrested.

All but one of those arrested remained jailed by late morning Thursday. Police warned the group earlier this week to clear out of the park before 10 p.m., or face arrests

WFAA.com's Marjorie Owens has contributed to this report

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