Protesters occupy Chestnut Street in Chattanooga

Protesters occupy Chestnut Street in Chattanooga

October 27th, 2011 by Ben Benton in Local - Breaking News

Stephen Baker displays his protest placard today in front of the Bank of America on Chestnut Street in Chattanooga.

Stephen Baker displays his protest placard today in...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

POLL: Do you support the Occupy" protests?"

Dozens of protesters who say they are part of Occupy Chattanooga movement in support of the same movement on Wall Street started gathering this morning on Chestnut Street in downtown Chattanooga.

"We're protesting the cynical display of corporate greed," Chattanooga resident Frank Eaton, 53, said. He was standing with more than two dozen others holding signs.

"We can't afford $10,000 for a table for access to our Congressman, [but] what we can afford is to exercise free speech and protest the fact that this is a fundraiser when it should be a job summit," Eaton said.

He said many members of the group are protesting tonight's fundraiser at the Walden Club for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tennessee, who will be accompanied by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"We think Boehner and Fleischmann should be having a job summit, not a fundraiser," he said.

The group of protesters, many of whom were on hand at 6 a.m. Thursday, formed up across Chestnut Street from Bank of America, where Eaton said some of the occupy protesters had issues with the bank's practices.

The Walden Club is in the top floor of the building known as Republic Centre and that includes the bank.

Three men in suits standing outside the front doors of the bank said they were not employees, but observing what was going on. There were a couple of security guards present in front of the bank and Chattanooga police patrol cars were staging in nearby blocks as more protesters appeared to be looking for places to park.

Madeleine Dougherty, 27, also of Chattanooga, said she's "fed up with greed and I'm fed up with the way corporations are paying ... for the votes of people like Fleischmann and Boehner."

Dougherty said she hopes more protesters show up throughout the day. The event is slated to run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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