Occupiers camp out in Columbia for conference

Jul 2, 2012

Members of the Occupy Missouri movement have wrapped up a three-day gathering in Columbia.

One Occupier, Mike Diel of Macon, estimate there were 30 to 40 participants throughout the blistering hot weekend.

Some, like activist Paul Searles, have been protesting for social reform for more than 10 years. Occupy has become one of his biggest priorities.

“We want there to be limits on how much First Amendment power money can buy," Searles said. "Because we have the best politicians money can buy. That’s very good if you’re rich and very bad if you’re poor.”

A few from the group planned to head directly to Philadelphia for a national gathering. An event on Independence Mall runs through July 4 and is expected to draw about 1,500 protesters.