NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday characterized Wall Street protesters as misguided, saying their demonstrations are targeting working class people whose jobs are tied to the financial sector, not the rich.
"The protesters are protesting against people who make $40,000 to $50,000 a year who are struggling to make ends meet. That's the bottom line," Bloomberg said on his WOR 710 radio show Friday.
The demonstrators, who have camped out in Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan, say they're protesting against a financial system that favors corporations and the wealthy. They are also protesting against the New York Police Department's (NYPD's) treatment of demonstrators and minorities.
But Bloomberg suggested it is imprudent to scapegoat the financial sector during a shaky economy.
"If the banks don't make loans, we will not come out of our economic problems. We will not have jobs," he said.
Bloomberg was coy when asked how the NYPD would handle protests expected later Friday. He said while people have a right to protest, other citizens have a right "to walk down the street unmolested."