The Occupy Wall Street protest spread to Trenton and Jersey City on Thursday, with protesters alleging the government is not representing them.
Roughly a dozen protesters stood in front of the Statehouse 30 minutes before the protest was scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
Heath Weaver, owner of Media in Motion, a Toms River-based wedding video business, said the protest represented the “99 percent” who are not heard by the government.
“The government is being run by corporations, instead of the people,” Weaver said.
Weaver brought a sleeping bag and said she planned to stay in front of the Statehouse “24/7.”
Tim O’Neill, an employee of the Camden County Board of Social Services, said he came to protest to voice his support for several causes, including single-payer health care and the removal of Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Newark).
O’Neill alleged that the Democratic leaders didn’t follow the wishes of their caucuses when they supported Gov. Chris Christie‘s public employee pension and benefit proposals.
“I love (Occupy Wall Street), because it’s true democracy,” O’Neill said. “The people want the corporations out of government.”
O’Neill also said business lobbyists have too much say over state government.
Chemistry Council of New Jersey Executive Director Hal Bozarth expressed skepticism toward the protest.
“At this point, they’re so unfocused that it doesn’t even appear like they know what they want,” Bozarth said. As to whether lobbyists have too much influence, he said: “As a poor, struggling business lobbyist — oh, for that to be true!”
He added that anyone who wants to be heard by the state government is free to petition it.