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Last year's problems remain, organizers said

  • Brino Ism, center right, followed by Brandon Cooper join Occupy Santa Rosa supporters parade through downtown to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the movement in Santa Rosa, California on Sunday, October 14, 2012. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Nearly 200 people marched through downtown Santa Rosa Sunday to recognize the one-year anniversary of Sonoma County's Occupy Wall Street movement.

Led by the Occupy Santa Rosa Band, the group rallied at Santa Rosa City Hall, banging on pots, pans, tambourines, drums and empty water jugs.

"I don't think anybody thought we would still be here," organizer Carl Patrick, 25, of Santa Rosa said through a bull horn.

Last year, Occupy Wall Street began as a sit-in staged by activists in a New York City park.

The movement grew to cities across the world as people united over a belief that the superwealthy held too much influence over politics and the economy.

In Sonoma County, Occupy groups took over patches of public ground during monthlong encampments on the Santa Rosa City Hall lawn. Groups also camped in Petaluma's Penry Park, Sebastopol's town plaza and in other cities.

Although the camps have long since disbanded, people took to the streets Sunday in part to remind people that the problems of last year remain.

The looming election also drew people to the streets, including Christina Zapata, 34, a Santa Rosa therapist who brought her two daughters to the march.

Politicians "are detached from the reality we live every day, those of us who rely on public transportation, send our children to public schools," Zapata said.

But the ultimate premise held by both stalwart activists and newcomers was clarified by Zapata's 6-year-old daughter, Paola Lopez.


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