Nightly News   |  October 01, 2011

Protesting in the streets

What began with a small, disorganized protest on Wall Street has become nationwide demonstrations against corporate greed. NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> what began as a protest on wall street in manhattan, new york has grown today to demonstrations nation-wide against corporate greed . from new york to l.a., even up in maine, people took to the streets to express their anger and make sure their message is heard. but what exactly is their message? we sent nbc's michelle franzen to find out.

>> reporter: two weeks and counting. several hundred faithful protestors continue to camp out at a park near wall street . their numbers grow each day, fuelled by the power of social media . a few scuffles with nypd and the common threat of discontent over high unemployment and distrust of government and corporations.

>> there's something unjust going on right now in this economy, in this society.

>> reporter: john drove from connecticut to speak out.

>> because we can't pay for big expensive lobbyists to work for what we want.

>> reporter: the sit-in has turned into a small community, complete with a food kitchen and media center . but by design, there is no one leader of this group. and no organized set of demands.

>> we each do our own thing but we're doing it together. we're coming together and we're saying, things need to be changed. how are you going to do this.

>> reporter: protestors may still be working to define their message, but the complaints of corporate greed and social inequality are resonating far beyond the streets of new york . in los angeles today, protestors took to the streets to show solidarity.

>> i can't travel to dc or to new york so i think it's great that we are doing this in states across the united states .

>> reporter: even in portland, maine, 100 people turned out. the movement, labor experts say, is also gaining the attention of high-profile activists like michael moore and union leaders, backing that could elevate the conversation to the political stage.

>> this is a liberal version of the tea party especially with young people who are getting mobilized and expressing their grievances. i think this could potentially carry over into the 2012 elections and get people to the polls.

>> reporter: so far, the protestors say they are just getting started. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york .

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