NEW YORK — Now it’s personal: Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters held a “Millionaires March” on Tuesday past the homes of some of the wealthiest executives in America, stopping to jeer “Tax the rich!” and “Where’s my bailout?”
Walking two-by-two on the sidewalk because they had no march permit and didn’t want to be charged with blocking traffic, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and other groups made their way up Manhattan’s East Side, along streets such as Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue where some of the richest 1 percent of the population live in townhouses and luxury apartments.
They paused outside buildings where media mogul Rupert Murdoch, banker Jamie Dimon and oil tycoon David Koch have homes, and decried the impending expiration of New York’s 2 percent “millionaires’ tax” in December.
“I have nothing against these people personally. I just think they should pay their fair share of taxes,” said Michael Pollack, an office worker in a law firm. He held up a sign with a saying attributed to department store founder Edward Filene: “Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.”
For the past 3 1/2 weeks, protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street, denouncing corporate greed and the gap between rich and poor. The uptown march marked the first time the Occupy Wall Street movement has identified specific people as being part of the 1 percent the demonstrators say are getting rich at the expense of the rest of America.
When the march reached Park Avenue, protesters stopped in front of a building where they said Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chairman and CEO, has an apartment.
JPMorgan was among the banks that received a federal bailout, money it has since repaid.
Dimon got supportive words Monday from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is himself a billionaire executive.
Dimon has “brought more business to this city than maybe any other banker in [the] modern day,” the mayor said. “To go and picket him, I don’t know what that achieves.”
Outside one building, protesters placed a giant replica of a check against the door. It was made out to “The top one percent” for $5 billion — the size of the impending state tax cut for wealthy New Yorkers.
The protest in New York City came as the state comptroller issued a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes. The industry shed 4,100 jobs in the late spring and summer and could lose nearly 10,000 more by the end of 2012, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.
Christopher Guerra, an artist and Occupy Wall Street protester from Newark, N.J., said the job losses aren’t necessarily bad.
“That means more people on our side,” Guerra said. “If they get shafted, they will realize that what we are saying is true.”