Protesters Set To "Occupy Roanoke" - WSET.com - ABC13

Protesters Set To "Occupy Roanoke"

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Reporter:  David Tate

Roanoke, VA - The month-long protests that started on Wall Street, and have since moved nationwide, are set to take off in Roanoke and Blacksburg as well.

Ellen Ford holds three master's degrees and Rafael Gonzalez is a successful small businessman, and they both say it's time for the 99% of those struggling at the hands of the 1% to stand up and be counted.

"I'm part of the 99'rs who feel that something needs to be done in America and that there's too much money and too much at the top controlling politics and controlling everything," said Gonzalez.

He isn't alone. Occupy Roanoke holds a Facebook membership of nearly 500 people after less than two weeks of organizing. On Saturday, they will finally make their presence felt with a day long protest from the Mayor's Monument in Elmwood Park, which sits adjacent to one of the city's busiest intersections.

While Saturday's protest is expected to end on time, organizers say that a general assembly will be convened to consider different events to organize in the future which could include a permanent encampment somewhere in Roanoke.

"We are looking at a location to have a continuous, occupied point in the city... but that has not been defined," said Gonzalez.

In the meantime the group will work to extend what was started hundreds of miles to the north.  The hope is that by the time all is said and done, the message will be loud enough for politicians to hear and big enough to show that those organizing cover Americans from young to old.

"Like in any time in history when there's a great deal of unrest, upheaval and anger in society... thoughtful people need to come together and figure out what we can do about it," said Ford.

The Roanoke event kicks off Saturday at 7 a.m. in Elmwood Park with marches set for noon and 5 p.m.

Occupy Blacksburg will be mobilizing downtown Saturday on College Avenue at 2 p.m.

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