Friday evening, two groups of protesters, Occupy Dallas and Occupy the Federal Reserve, lined opposite side of N. Pearl Street at Woodall Rodgers in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "We got sold out, Feds got bailed out!" Occupy Dallas protesters shouted in unison on the west side of Pearl. And, all around them, the Occupy the Federal Reserve crowd -- consisting of fans and followers of Dallas-born, Austin-based radio-show host Alex Jones -- had their own mantra: "End the Fed, End the Fed!"
It's tough to say whose crowd was bigger -- probably around 200 on both sides. Police said the protesters had been peaceful; only one person's been arrested since the Occupy Dallas folks began their demonstrating Thursday morning. "They're well-behaved, so that helps a lot," said Sergeant Thomas Fry, scanning the crowd.
Jones -- the 9/11 truther, a man who recently called the Gates Foundation "obviously a eugenics operation," the street preacher in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly and, to a few, a resurrected Bill Hicks -- grabbed a megaphone a little after 6 p.m. "A hundred years of these scumbag bankers is a hundred years too long," he yelled.
"I love you, Alex!" a voice carried over the crowd.
"I love you guys. You're the only prayer we've got," Jones yelled back.
Sweat seeped through Jones's blue button-down shirt. He shook hands as he pushed through the crowd to meet a reporter for a Christian news show. "If the devil lives anywhere in the world, it's in the Federal Reserve banks," Jones said. "The whole thing is just a ridiculous scheme, and it's time people know about it."
"Let's go kick some ass, Alex," someone screamed. "Give 'em hell!" Nearby, someone held a sign that read, "The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."
"These are the people killing off humanity," someone shouted into a megaphone on the sidewalk at the foot of the Federal Reserve Bank skyscraper. "These are the people that funded Adolf Hitler and the Communists. ... They are pure evil."
"It's legalized theft," said Brooke Kelley, a "truth fairy" attired in a tutu and wings. She said she was fed up with the government taking money from taxpayers to pay private banks. "We don't have to take it."
"J.P. Morgan is now dead, here today we end the Fed," Arby Branch, a freshman at the University of North Texas, screamed into a megaphone. Wearing a Bob Marley shirt and a long skirt, she bounced around the scene. Salvador Vasquez joined in, wearing a button-down shirt and waving his arms and grabbing at his glasses.
"It's private individuals subsidized on the backs of public citizens," said Vasquez, a barber and former fifth-grade teacher who drove to Dallas from Austin for the protest. "The problem isn't capitalism. ... Wall Street is just a function of banks."
"I'm actually here with Occupy Dallas," said Branch, who had crossed the street to mingle among the Occupy the Fed group. "We're all the 99 percent," she added, meaning, of course, that they're not among the 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans.
"I'm sick of the same old shit," she said. "I'm just ready for people to put out new ideas."
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"Do you want to do another chorus with me?" Vasquez asked her.
"Rockefeller is now dead, here today we end the Fed," they shouted.
A cop told Branch she had to move. "We were getting a nice groove," Vasquez said as Branch walked away. Then, from a median in the street, once again, louder: "Rockefeller is now dead., here today we end the Fed!"