Pinkney's 'Occupy' bigger this time
BENTON HARBOR, May 27, 2012 (Menafn - The Herald-Palladium - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --More than 100 people protested for a boycott of Whirlpool Corp. and the company's KitchenAid products Saturday in the biggest day of the Occupy the PGA protests.
"We probably can't afford a Mercedes-Benz," said local activist Edward Pinkney, referring to one of the other sponsors of the Senior PGA Championship at the Harbor Shores golf course. But the protesters can drag the name of the official vehicle for the Senior PGA Championship through the mud, he said.
The group, far bigger than Wednesday's, walked the same 2-mile route, mostly in silence. Protesters began at Benton Harbor City Hall and, on their way to Jean Klock Park, went around Whirlpool's new downtown Benton Harbor building. Again they carried a coffin. It symbolized the death of Benton Harbor residents.
Several protesters would have been familiar faces to anyone who has ever been to a Benton Harbor City Commission meeting -- including Commissioner Trenton Bowens -- but others hailed from as far away as Costa Rica and Mexico.
Diego Contreras and other protesters from Latin America were participating in Michigan's Institute for International Cooperation and Development, based in Dowagiac. Contreras, who was interviewed during Wednesday's demonstration, said then, "In Mexico Whirlpool is doing the same thing." He was back protesting on Saturday. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, also participated in the march.Many protesters held anti-Whirlpool or anti-PGA signs, but just as many raised signs in opposition to Benton Harbor's emergency manager.
Stacie Dineen of Van Buren County's Porter Township said she came to Benton Harbor because she had been closely following the Occupy movements on the news but hadn't yet participated.
Dineen said she was protesting because she's opposed to the emergency manager law and supports collective bargaining. The law gives state-appointed emergency managers the power to change or terminated union contracts.
Dineen, who said she has worked as a public employee for years, was collecting signatures for a petition to put collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution.
Raphael Adley of Occupy Lansing said members of the Occupy movement have worked closely with Pinkney to organize this week's protests.
The Occupy movement believes in "small 'd' democracy" and opposes the city's takeover by an emergency manager, Adley said. "A lot of us believe Michigan is just a proving ground for moving emergency managers to the rest of the 50 states."
___ (c)2012 The Herald-Palladium (Saint Joseph, Mich.) Visit The
Herald-Palladium (Saint Joseph, Mich.) at www.heraldpalladium.com Distributed by
MCT Information Services
Copyright (C) 2012, The Herald-Palladium, St. Joseph, Mich.