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Main Street divided over Occupy Wall Street protest

world Updated: Oct 11, 2011 01:11 IST

Growing protests targeting Wall Street and US economic inequality spawned heated rhetoric among politicians on Sunday as organizers planned more demonstrations this week.

"It's anti-American," Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said. "Even though we have our challenges, I believe that the protests are more anti-capitalism and anti-free market than anything else."

Cain, a businessman who has risen in recent polls among Republicans, said, "We know that the unions and certain union-related organisations have been behind these protests that have gone on, on Wall Street and other parts around the country.

"It's coordinated to create a distraction so people won't focus on the failed policies of this administration." he said.

Fellow Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, appearing with Cain, said, "I think the sad thing is this a natural product of (President Barack) Obama's class warfare."

But Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives said, "I support the message to the establishment, whether it's Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen. "When we said everyone should pay their fair share, the other side (Republicans) said that's class warfare," she added. "No, it's not. It's the most endearing American value, fairness."

Protests have spread
The Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month with a few people has expanded to protests across the country with marches and camps taking shape from Tampa, Florida, to Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles to Philadelphia.