Protesters demand focus on jobs, infrastructure

Dozens of protesters lined the sidewalks on the bridge over the Swannanoa River in Biltmore Village on Thursday evening, Nov. 17, to demand that politicians in Washington focus on jobs and making “Wall Street pay its fair share.” Timed to coincide with rush hour, the protest was located on the bridge to draw attention to what protesters say is “crumbling infrastructure.”

Organized by, the protest was also meant to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell said he was there to support both organizations, identifying himself as “part of the 99 percent.”

“I really, strongly believe that we need a federal jobs program now, to rescue the economy. This particular protest is pointing out that there are thousands — tens of thousands — of under-built bridges in this country,” said Bothwell. “And this one that we’re standing on here was rebuilt as part of the stimulus plan. It wasn’t big enough. We need a bigger stimulus. Now.”

Passing cars honked as protesters waved signs. Police officers watched from afar.

“This is the most exciting time of my life. Since World War II, anyway,” said Robert Nicholson, who identified himself as a retired U.S. Navy captain, and a veteran of World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars. “We’re finally making a move toward doing something. Now if we can get the Congress off their butts, it’s going to be well worth while.”

Nicholson said he believes the Occupy Wall Street movement will “take hold” and activate Congress.

“We’re not a monstrous crowd,” he said, “but we’re enough to get the message out, I hope.”

Maureen McClure, holding a sign that read “Put Americans Back to Work,” said she was standing on the bridge to “encourage Congress to get the economy going, and create jobs, and raise taxes on the wealthy. We’d like to see revenues raised to close the gap rather than cuts on people that are dependent on human services.”

(photos and report by Max Cooper)


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

2 thoughts on “Protesters demand focus on jobs, infrastructure

  1. For the government to spend money, it must first forcibly remove wealth from the private economy, where it belongs, and move it to where it does not belong based on political calculation.

    This destroys wealth, jobs and liberty.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.