Lawrence version of Occupy Wall Street protest springs up

The Occupy Wall Street populist protest movement that has sprung up across the nation made its way to Lawrence on Saturday, as more than 100 people gathered outside the U.S. Bank at Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

The group chanted, held signs and sang songs that echoed themes.

“THIS IS CLASS WAR,” read one sign.

Occupy Lawrence demonstrators protest Saturday at Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

Last Friday, Lawrence resident Lori Learned Robinson and a small group of organizers were watching the Occupy Wall Street movement nationally, and were wondering if a local movement would begin. After nothing sprung up after a couple of days, she and her husband began a Facebook group that spread the word about the event.

“It’s a coming together of everyone who has grievances against the way things are being done,” she said. “The main focus is on Wall Street, and how Wall Street gets bailed out, but the American people don’t.”

The people who gathered were airing a wide variety of grievances, including large student-debt loads, wiretapping efforts and government spending on the military.

Mel Smith, of Lawrence, held a sign that asked, “What does it all mean?”

“What we’re here for is to help people realize that in order for the human race to survive, we have to be able to work together,” Smith said.