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Thursday, 26 January 2012 01:27

Occupy protesters rally in Bryson City

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Western North Carolina occupiers “took possession” last week of the Federal Building in Bryson City where federal court is held to protest a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that declared corporations are people.

“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one,” one protester’s sign proclaimed. About 50 people turned out for the Friday event, which took place in the parking lot outside the Federal Building at the corner of Veterans Boulevard and Main Street.

Swain County residents seemed generally supportive of protesters’ stance: many honked as they passed by, or called out in encouragement.

“I know a little about the case, and this seemed like a good way to educate myself,” said Jesse Fowler, a Western Carolina University student studying political science, who joined protesters in Bryson City. “This seemed like a really good time to learn more.”

MovetoAmend.org organized the nationwide protest. Most at the Federal Building in Bryson City were members of OccupyWNC, a homegrown group that meets in Sylva once a week to discuss political issues and strategy.

They gathered this day against the decision in Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission. The court case resulted in a ruling that the government had no right to limit or regulate the independent political contributions of corporations.

“I am here because I do not want to see corporations buying our presidents in the future,” said June Smith, a Jackson County resident.

Critics such as Smith believe the ruling encourages corruption.

“The court has basically usurped the constitution,” added June Smith’s husband, Newt.

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