Obama, Occupy marchers mark Martin Luther King holiday

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:28pm EST

1 of 5. U.S. President Barack Obama (C) greets people as he arrives to participate during a day of service to honor Martin Luther King, Jr, at the Browne Education Campus school in Washington, January 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama led Americans on Monday in honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., while the Occupy Wall Street movement staged a new march protesting economic injustice.

Obama, the first African-American president, joined his wife, Michelle, and daughter Malia in helping build a library reading nook at a school in Washington.

Speaking beneath a sign with the words, "United we serve," Obama said service and diversity strengthened America.

"At a time when the country has been going through some difficult economic times, for us to be able to come together as a community, people from all different walks of life, and make sure that we're giving back, that's ultimately what makes us the strongest, most extraordinary country on earth," he said.

On the first King holiday since the Occupy movement reignited debate in the United States over inequality, hundreds of protesters marched in wintry temperatures in Manhattan, stopping at a Bank of America branch to shout, "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Protest leaders said in a statement the march was held "because Dr. King dedicated the last months of his life to planning a campaign for the right of all to a decent-paying job." At least two protesters were put in a police van.

King, a Baptist pastor who advocated for nonviolence, racial brotherhood and equal rights and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, was assassinated in 1968 as he stood on his motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had gone to support striking sanitation workers.

"I came here on the one hand to honor (King's) birthday, but also for the things that he stood for," Jim Glaser, a retired teacher from Nyack, New York, said at the march. "We have to have a government that's responsive to people ... a government that people can have some influence on."

Protesters in the Occupy movement complain that billions of dollars in bailouts were given to banks while many Americans suffer from joblessness and housing foreclosures. They say minorities are disproportionately affected by predatory lending practices.

(Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst Karen Brooks and James B. Kelleher; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (1)
Stoat wrote:
It’s unfortunate that, yet again, the President who has intentionally and purposefully created the most division, strife and discord within the American body politic speaks not of Unity and togetherness of all races and ideologies but of ‘diversity’….the continued fracturing of and tribalist warring between factions. Dr. King would have been terribly embarrassed of him and would have publicly disavowed ever word Obama has uttered.

It’s unsurprising that he has warmly embraced the hard-Left Occupy thugs, whose Socialist/Communist foundations embrace similar divisiveness…..as well as open anti-Semitism.

For America’s sake, we can only hope that when 2013 ushers in a new Administration, this hideous blight that Obama has inflicted upon us will be entirely repealed and we can begin healing the terrible wounds that Obama has gouged in our great country.

Jan 16, 2012 6:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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