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Occupy Wall Street Protests Draw National, Overseas Attention

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spawned grass-roots activities around the U.S., is drawing political remarks from both here at home and overseas.

The latest endorsement of the weeks-long protest comes from Poland's former President Lech Walesa, who says he supports the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York and is planning either a visit or writing a letter to the protesters.

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Walesa said the global economic crisis has made people aware that "we need to change the capitalist system'' because we need "more justice, more people's interests, and less money for money's sake.''

Meanwhile, Iran's top leader said the wave of protests reflects a serious problem that will ultimately topple capitalism in America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is in a full-blown crisis because its "corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people.''

Khamenei's remarks came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.

Last week in China's central Henan province, a small group of pensioners rallied in support of the mounting U.S. demonstrations, according to published reports.

Protestors shouted slogans like "United, proletarians around the world" and held banners that reportedly read "Resolutely supporting the American people's mighty 'Wall Street revolution.'"

The protests in New York City have also spawned other Occupy Wall Street demonstrations around the country: Occupy Boston, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Houston, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Providence, Occupy Salt Lake, and Occupy Seattle, among them.

Politicians have also been weighing in on the growing protests.

During his appearance Wednesday night on The Late Show with David Letterman, former president Bill Clinton talked about the protests on Wall Street.

"I think essentially what they're saying is that America, A, has become too unequal, and B, that some of the people who have caused the problem are in good shape today and lot of them aren't," Clinton said. "A lot of them have lost jobs, not being able to find new jobs and that the country is not really working for ordinary folks."

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But the former president said that protestors need more focus to achieve their goals.

"I think they're going to have to transfer their energies at some point to making some specific suggestions or bringing in people who know more about putting this country back to work," Clinton said. "They need to be for something specific and not just against something because if you're just against something, somebody else will fill the vacuum you create."

Last week, presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called the protest "class warfare" while speaking in Florida.

Herman Cain has called the activists "un-American."

President Obama has also weighed in, talking about the demonstrations last Thursday during a news conference.

"I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel.  You're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crackdown on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place," Obama said.

For nearly a month, the protestors have taken over Zuccotti Park near Wall Street rallying primarily against corporate greed as what they say is the main cause for the country's failing economy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited them Wednesday and told the protesters they need to vacate the park on Friday so it can be cleaned up.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said in a statement that the protest has "created unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park.'' He said Brookfield Properties asked for police help to clear the park so it can be cleaned.

Protesters say they are in it for the long haul, despite the onset of cold weather.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)




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