November 11, 2011 / 1:37 PM / 8 years ago

South Carolina protesters disrupt Michele Bachmann speech

MOUNT PLEASANT, South Carolina (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was about 10 minutes into a foreign policy speech in South Carolina on Thursday when she was drowned out by the shouting of protesters.

About 30 people rose in unison and began shouting a scripted message during Bachmann’s address aboard the USS Yorktown, a World War Two aircraft carrier.

The group, which later identified itself as being part of Occupy Charleston, accused Bachmann of “dividing Americans” and promoting discrimination.

“You cater to the 1 percent,” they yelled.

Bachmann stopped speaking and was escorted from the stage by law enforcement officers. After about three minutes, the protesters shouted, “Have a pleasant day” and marched out chanting, “We are the 99 percent.”

“We’re Americans criticizing her. We’re just getting our voices heard,” said a young woman who wouldn’t give her name. “She’s getting her voice heard. Why can’t I have my voice heard?”

Bachmann quickly returned to finish her speech.

“Don’t you love the First Amendment?” she said. “We have a great country... We are here because we love this country, and we want it to be better.”

The “Occupy” protesters, active in a number of cities in recent weeks, criticize economic inequality, saying the top 1 percent of Americans have too much wealth and power.

Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton

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