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TheStreet Open House

Street's Other Rally Finds Fewer Converts

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

They crashed President Bush's vacation at the Crawford Ranch. They marched on the Mall in Washington. Now, the increasingly vocal war protest crowd has come to Wall Street itself to sound off on peace and social justice in the midst of a stock market rally.

On Thursday, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' arrest that inspired the civil rights movement, the Troops Out Now Coalition demonstrated at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway to protest the war in Iraq and the policies of President Bush.

On a flat-bed truck parked before a crowd of protesters, activist Larry Holmes shouted into a microphone, while a crowd of supporters clapped their hands, raised their placards, banged bongos and voiced their agreement in song.

"We've come to Wall Street, the heart of the world's financial capital -- where there's billions and billions of dollars changing hands every day -- to let people know that we need to take better care of people who are less fortunate, and we need to stop this terrible war," said Imani Henry, an activist with the coalition. "This is the richest country in the world. There are mansions springing up all over the place, and many victims of Hurricane Katrina still have nowhere to go. Workers are losing their jobs all across the country. Record numbers of people have no health care insurance, and we need people on Wall Street to do something about it."

Signs blared out various messages, like "From New Orleans to Iraq, Stop the War," and "Bring the Troops Home Now." One woman wrapped herself in an American flag, but in place of stars, Old Glory was adorned with corporate logos, like General Electric's (GE) NBC, McDonald's (MCD) and Pepsi (PEP). Shares of ownership in those companies were being traded frenetically on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, just one block away.

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