Wall Street protesters gathering in Minneapolis

Published 4:12 pm Saturday, October 8, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Maggie Babb is bitter, and angry at the government.

And at the ripe old age of 16, she’s taking a stand.

“A lot of young people today are angry and they are upset about the society we live in, but they are not being proactive about it,” she said. “I’m obligated to come out here to represent my life and my family.”

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Babb joined hundreds of others gathered Friday at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza to show solidarity with the nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, organized to decry corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. Friday’s protest — the start of what organizers hope will be an occupation of the plaza until they see signs of an impact on the larger political discussion — was festive as participants spoke out on everything from poverty and corporate America to war and police brutality.

On a warm fall day, people shared coffee, painted signs and held rallies, chanting “We are the 99 percent” — contrasting themselves with the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. People held signs saying: “Protect the middle class” and “Corporations are not people.”