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Dozens turn out for Occupy Langley

Mary Stewart and Gayle Austin, both Langley residents, discuss the Occupy Wall Street rallies while supporting the Occupy Whidbey protest on the corner of Second Street and Anthes Avenue in Langley.   - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Mary Stewart and Gayle Austin, both Langley residents, discuss the Occupy Wall Street rallies while supporting the Occupy Whidbey protest on the corner of Second Street and Anthes Avenue in Langley.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The Occupy movement settled into the Village by the Sea last week.

A couple dozen people occupied the corner of Second Street and Anthes Avenue on Thursday afternoon at a rally that lasted two hours. Their reasons for holding signs in the bitter cold ranged from strengthening community ties to expressing freedom of speech.

“I was brought out just by the feeling of excitement about people waking up and caring about each other and their neighbors and looking to talk to each other,” said Clinton resident Gretchen Lawlor.

Her corner companion wanted to change the political influence of corporations.

“One of my main interests, although there are many things to change the paradigm that needs changing, is to get corporations out of politics and get big money out of politics - to depersonalize corporations so they’re not so powerful,” said Clinton resident Dorit Zingarelli.

Across from Langley Park, US Bank operated as usual with no disruptions. The rally began at 2 p.m., by 4:45 the two dozen supporters had cleared the park.

Occupy rallies in other cities have been forcibly removed by local law enforcement. In Oakland, Calif. and Washington, D.C. police officers cleared Occupy camps. Last week there was a highly-publicized incident of officers pepper spraying peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors on the campus of the University of California-Davis. The reaction to some of the Occupy rallies in other cities had Lawlor and Zingarelli reasserting their constitutional rights.

“It’s our civil right to gather and express ourselves. Freedom of speech, it’s in our Constitution,” Zingarelli said.

Speaking in public was one of the high points for Lawlor. She noticed in some of the other rallies that people had a chance to voice their opinions and concerns.

“There’s a lot of us that don’t feel all that comfortable to speak up,” Lawlor said. “Everyone gets a voice. Everyone’s encouraged to speak up. What they care about is considered.”

Gathering, camping, protesting and talking were just the beginning, however. Lawlor said she looked forward to the ideas that would come out of these rallies.

“Just camping in the parks, there’s going to be a lot more than that,” Lawlor said. “It’s going to ripple out.”

Community Events, April 2014

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