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Occupiers protest at John Wayne Airport

Two men staged their own counter protest in an effort to stir up a debate.

November 17, 2011|By Joseph Serna
  • Janet Alicesun, right, of Huntington Beach, waves to motorists as they honk at the corner of MacArthur Blvd. and Michelson Dr. Thursday, November 17, 2011. Behind her is Lee Cohen, of Tustin, holding a sign supporting the 1% of Americans.
Janet Alicesun, right, of Huntington Beach, waves to… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — About two weeks ago, Jackie Marquez walked out of her local Wells Fargo bank branch in Irvine and saw an Occupy Orange County protest on the corner.

Disenchanted with big banks and government, the 61-year-old said she was immediately drawn to the protestors, even though she wasn't sure what they stood for.

"I was getting so frustrated with government, I didn't want to vote anymore," she said. "This economy has hit me hard. I've had to crawl my way back."

Thursday night, Marquez was still with the Occupy movement, this time taking part in a national day of action by joining more than 60 protestors at John Wayne Airport.

"This is giving me an opportunity to have a voice," Marquez said.

Occupying three corners of the MacArthur Boulevard and Michelson Drive intersection, demonstrators were acknowledged by drivers with mostly supportive honks peppered with mocking shouts.

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Two men took it a step further and staged their own, much smaller counter protest alongside the occupiers.

Carrying a sign that read "Join the 1% with hard work and initiative," Tustin resident Lee Cohen said he wanted to stir up the debate with the other folks.

As luxury cars whizzed by the crowd, Cohen argued the Occupy Wall Street movement oversimplifies who makes up the top 1% of the country's earners.

"The beauty of this area is the folks driving these Mercedes went out and got it," Cohen said. "They didn't take it from anybody."

Thursday's demonstration was organized by MoveOn.org's South Orange County group.

"The Arab Spring is in the air," said Ron Varasteh, council organizer for the local MoveOn group. "It's come over here. Enough is enough. The oligarchy must end."

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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