Occupy Palm Beach protests Allen West in the rainby Andrew Abramson | October 18th, 2011
About 25 protesters calling themselves members of Occupy Palm Beach, 99 Percent or just citizens with a message, stood in the rain this morning as West spoke at a town hall at the Bethesda by the Sea Church in Palm Beach.
They chanted, “hey, hey, ho, ho, Allen West needs to go!” and rallied against “the war on the poor.”
Eddie Venero, who’s a member of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, drove up from Miami for the event.
“We’re trying to make it clear that programs like social security don’t add a penny to the deficit and shouldn’t be scapegoated for tax credits for the rich that don’t effectively create jobs,” Venero said.
Lisa Epstein, who helped organized the Occupy Lake Worth events, said West is trying to “delegitimize the movement” by saying it’s a bunch of kids who need to go to work.
“We’re not just a bunch of kids,” Epstein said. “We have a message.”
Most of the protesters this morning have been middle aged men and women, including a group of about four Hispanic protesters who chanted in Spanish about the need for jobs.
John Tracey, who said he was the event’s facilitator, said he was very pleased with the turnout.
“Even without rain this would have been a great turnout,” Tracey said. “It’s a Tuesday morning, and this isn’t a movement of unemployment people. This is a movement of taxpayers, and most of them have jobs and couldn’t be here.”
Tracey said that unlike the Tea Party protesters, “We have respect for decorum, and we are respectful when we ask questions (at the town hall). The other difference is funding. We are bottom-up, and we’re not sponsored by a media outlet.”
Tracey said there are also similarities with Tea Party movement. “When they first started it was about the bank bailouts, and we have some of the same questions we want addressed,” Tracey said.
Several drivers on the island honked in support, and one man drove by and flipped his middle finger at the protesters.
Police officers said the protest was lawful, although they wouldn’t allow a bullhorn because of a Palm Beach ordinance.
One officer told a valet driver that he was wishing for lightning to strike the protesters. The officer, who said he was eager to break up the protest, asked if there were any noise complaints.
Tags: Allen West