Nightly News   |  October 03, 2011

Wall Street protests spread nationally

Protests against Wall Street spread across the country Monday , as thousands of people joined in, blaming Wall Street for the nation's economic problems. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to the story that's been unfolding on the streets of this city and others. The movement that started here in New York about a month ago with a small group of protesters blaming Wall Street for the nation's economic problems, now has thousands of people joining in and it's spreading across the country. NBC 's Michelle Franzen is on Wall Street tonight with the latest on these protests that have netted hundreds of arrests so far. Michelle , good evening.

MICHELLE FRANZEN reporting: Well, good evening, Brian . And those protesters are surrounding our live shot at this moment, holding signs and holding rallies in the park nearby, united by what they see as corporate greed and social injustice playing out around the country. They are demanding change, but by design they have no set plan or end goal in mind, but that hasn't stopped this movement from gaining strength in numbers.

Unidentified Man #1: Trickle down economics is working!

FRANZEN: On the march, demonstrators dressed in suits and their faces painted turned out to rally against bankers on Wall Street , government corruption and social inequality.

Protesters: We got sold out!

FRANZEN: What began as a small sit-in just over two weeks ago at this park in Lower Manhattan ...

Unidentified Man #2: I work 40 hours a week so I can struggle.

FRANZEN: ...has swelled into a chorus of hundreds, and on some days several thousand where anyone dissatisfied with just about anything has a voice.

Unidentified Man #3: This is the melting pot .

FRANZEN: That melting pot of gripes has turned into a nationwide movement. Protesters in Chicago , LA and Boston are also taking to the streets, inspired in part by the writings of anti- Wall Street authors like David DeGraw .

Mr. DAVID DeGRAW: It's people taking upon themselves to fight back against what they consider economic oppression.

FRANZEN: Protesters may have found their biggest support yet: major unions, including the steel, health care and transport workers are joining in.

Mr. JOHN SAMUELSON (Transport Workers Union): We're going to bring attention to the idea that working families are getting shafted in this country right now.

FRANZEN: And as you can see they're very passionate about their cause, Brian . A few arrests today for -- about three arrests for people who were wearing masks that concealed their faces, but nothing like the 700 arrests that we saw over the weekend.

WILLIAMS: All right, Michelle Franzen in Lower Manhattan tonight. Michelle , thank