With “Occupy” movements popping up across the country, Provo is now a piece in a growing random, yet strategic, puzzle.
Launching a new website and a frequently updated Facebook page, the “Occupy Provo” movement is building on the momentum stemming from “Occupy Wall Street” and its closer counterpart “Occupy Salt Lake.”
“What’s great about the movement is that we can come together to show that there is opposition to the current economic and political system,” said Jake Hyden, an “Occupy Provo” activist who gathered with fellow demonstrators on Provo’s Center Street Tuesday evening. Hyden is a history student at UVU.
“There’s a high turn-over rate, we get a lot of new blood. There are a lot of people turning out,” he said.
“Occupy Provo” started organizing nearly two weeks ago when a small group met at the Provo Kiwanis Park just east of the BYU campus. The movement has had at least two demonstrations in Provo and currently has 120 followers on Facebook.
The Provo division of the “Occupy” movement plans to protest Wells Fargo with an all-day demonstration Saturday.
“Things keep popping up with these corporations that they (Wells Fargo) are investing in that create grievances with us, ” said Brian Udall, a BYU student from Ohio studying media arts.
The Occupy Provo General Assembly’s research committee is working on a list of grievances against Wells Fargo. “We’ll be asking demonstrators to close their Wells Fargo accounts,” Hyden said.
This comes in light of questions about “Occupy Wall Street”‘s credibility in handling nearly $500,000 in donations. A finance committee is managing the money and requires protesters submit fund requests in writing. Demonstrators in New York report not knowing where the money is going or what it is being used for. The movement’s finance committee is expected to release a detailed report in coming days.
Meanwhile, “Occupy Salt Lake” continues to keep its strength. The Salt Lake branch will demonstrate this Saturday in opposition to the G20, a group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors..
“We are like a standing peaceful army of minutemen and women of peaceful activists that are ready to deploy the next time these gambling ‘banksters’ decide they need another bail-out, ” said Jesse Fruhwirth, a Salt Lake resident who currently assists the demonstrators with media management.
When asked about whether or not the decreasing temperatures are beginning to cause a decline in cooperation, Fruhwirth said the number of campers in Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park is shrinking.
“We had been losing people who had been losing the vision,” Fruhwirth said. “We met with these people, almost 50 people, in a different venue and found a way for them to continue working with the movement from afar.”