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Second Saturday of Occupy Santa Rosa draws 250 marchers

Occupy Santa Rosa activists marked their week-long protest outside City Hall with a rally and downtown march Saturday that drew about 250 people.

Waving signs and chanting slogans like, “Banks get bailed out, we get sold out,” the protesters lingered briefly outside Citibank on B Street before moving up Fourth Street and onto Juilliard Park.

Colby Jones, 32 of San Francisco, who took part in the rally with her mother, Sherry Jones, 57, of Sebastopol, said she was impressed by the resolve of the Santa Rosa group.

“I'm deeply heartened by what's happening here,” said Jones, a nanny, who also attened last Saturday's demonstration — the sixth-largest in the nation. “People are coming out en masse.”

And it's nowhere near over, organizers promised Saturday.

Occupy activists said they would continue to camp at City Hall until at least Christmas Eve and plan to stage rallies and marches every Saturday.

Earlier this week, the city allowed protesters to install a port-a-potty and the round-the-clock occupation has been supported by food and money donations.

On Saturday, the group sold baby blue Occupy Santa Rosa T-shirts for $10 a piece.

“We're going to be here indefinitely,” said organizer Tess McDermott, 20, of Sebastopol.

The activists have been careful to obey the law, but an upcoming march might include some form of civil disobedience.

Activists may gather outside Bank of America for a series of speeches, said another organizer, Sage Keaten.

She was rounding up BofA customers who may have lost their homes through foreclosure or had other unpleasant dealings.

The goal, Keaten said, is to persuade the city to divest public money from major financial institutions and deposit it with local banks.

Newman Strawbridge, a Santa Rosa lawyer who was is the civil rights movement in the Deep South, held a young child's hand as they walked through the crowd.

Strawbridge, 65, said the national Occupy movement is emerging as similar to what he experienced in the 1960s.

But he said it has even broader appeal.

“It's not an -ism struggle,” Strawbridge said. “It's a popular struggle.”

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