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Coming to Utah soon: the revolution.

Occupy Wall Street began less than three weeks ago as a small East Coast movement raging against injustice, the shaky economy and corporate greed.

Since then, the demonstrations have grown, entering their 18th day Tuesday as protesters marched on Federal Reserve banks and camped out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.

The message is inspiring a similar peaceful protest in Salt Lake City.

A group called Occupy Salt Lake City has begun hosting nightly meetings at Salt Lake City Library's outdoor amphitheater, ramping up for events Thursday that include a state Capitol rally, downtown march and "occupation" of Pioneer Park.

"We will make this a permanent demonstration of our solidarity until we are heard," said a brief statement sent by email from area supporters of the movement.

Organized through social networks and other means, demonstrations nationwide in dozens of cities are expected to continue throughout the week as more groups conduct organizational meetings and air their concerns on websites and through streaming video.

"This is about the realization that our economic system is not working," said Diana Lee Hirschi, a Salt Lake City resident who is helping to train peacekeepers for Thursday's events.

"Bankers are being bailed out and rewarded for their miscalculations, wars are raging that cost a fortune and people are being kicked out of their homes," Hirschi said of the lengthy list of complaints that fuels the movement's collective sense of injustice.

Hirschi, a longtime believer in nonviolent resistance, said she finds the "leaderless" movement exciting and inspiring, even though its aims are still fluid.

"I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime," Hirschi said. "Its an absolutely exhilarating moment in our history."

At first, Occupy Wall Street got little media notice, but the loosely knit movement seemed to galvanize over the weekend after the arrests of 700 protesters on New York's Brooklyn Bridge.

A slice of America's discontented, from college students worried about job prospects to middle-age workers who have been laid off, some protesters have likened themselves to the tea party movement — but with a liberal bent — or to the Arab Spring demonstrators who toppled rulers in the Middle East.

They now have the attention of national political and social pundits, and of law enforcement.

Salt Lake City Police are aware of the upcoming events and will act or react accordingly, said spokesman Det. Dennis McGowan.

"If its an orderly group that isn't committing any offenses or violating any city statutes, people have a right to gather," McGowan said. He added that he hoped the group had sought a permit for its march through downtown.

"Traffic or pedestrians could become an issue, and police would have to intervene," McGowan said.

Art Raymond, spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, said the Mayor's Office first learned about the upcoming demonstration Tuesday.

"It's no more significant than any group seeking to host an event in the city," Raymond said, but noted that he and others have been watching "with some interest" as recent Occupy Wall Street events unfolded in New York.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a city staffer said that OccupySLC had not sought any permits. A city ordinance bars overnight camping in city parks, and although a "free-expression activity" permit for the march is not required, it would help officials keep order as the event unfolds.

Others have been taking notice of the movement, as well. In a Fox News commentary, Don Gainor, vice president for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center, said the demonstrations "had a classic lefty feel" — failing to distinguish between real problems and poor choices.

However, Gainor believes the movement's potential power cannot be dismissed, noting "they are right that many Americans face true pain, and the elite of both political parties seems completely out of touch about it."

As the occupation near New York's Wall Street continued Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that many of those who work in the fabled center of American commerce said they don't take the protests personally. Some even sympathized.

"It's really incredible to me, the passion and conviction these people have," said Lou Crossin, who works for a company that sells corporate governance research to large investors. "I don't think these are violent people. They're just standing up for their beliefs."

Crossin said their unified chanting, leafleting and drum circles reminded him of the lyrics of a song from his youth by Jefferson Airplane, "Look what's happening out in the streets. Got a revolution."

The Associated Press contributed to this story

twitter: @catmck —

Occupy Wall Street has met resistance

R The East Coast resistance effort has been confronted by authorities:

Sept. 24 • About 100 demonstrators were arrested in New York City; some were pepper-sprayed.

Oct. 1 • Police arrested 700 on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public street as they tried to march over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oct. 3 • Police said they took five more protesters into custody Monday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.

Source: The Associated Press —

Occupy Salt Lake City events set for Thursday

10 a.m. • Rally at the Utah Capitol

11 a.m. • March to Pioneer Park

More information about the nationwide resistance effort can be found at The group, occupyslc, can also be found on Facebook and at