BRADENTON -- Demonstrators gathered at a Bradenton intersection Sunday morning to protest against economic and other disparities they see in American society and in their own pocketbooks.
By about 9:45 a.m., about 100 people of all ages and backgrounds were lined up along Manatee Avenue West at the intersection with 43rd Street, waving signs, shouting slogans and sharing with each other why they were braving threatening weather to try to "Occupy Bradenton."
"We're just tired of the inequality in the financial system, in the tax system ... in the health care system," said Keith Krusch, 35, a maintenance man in Bradenton. "We want other people to know there are people who feel like you."
Krusch said he and his wife can only afford to live with his in-laws.
"Both of us are working, and we can't get ahead."
It was a loosely organized demonstration, if that, modeled on other similar "Occupy" protests in New York and other cities across the nation. No one was sure whether whoever announced the protest on a Facebook page was even there.
But the attendees didn't need such a guiding hand to get organized. After a brief meeting, they took their positions along Manatee Avenue West in front of Jessie P. Miller Elementary School or on the other three corners of the intersection with 43rd Street West.
The protest was absent the street theater found in some of the other demonstrations, just sign waving and slogan chanting, punctuated by the horns of many passing motorists.
Bradenton police officers were monitoring the demonstration for potential trouble.The only testiness early on came when one motorist rolled down his window and jeered, "Get a life, you bums!"
Without hesitation, demonstrator Frank Dellert, 76, responded, "Get educated, get educated!"
Another protester, a middle-age woman, joined in response: "Quit watching FOX News!"
By noon, there were about a dozen protesters remaining.