Dozens of members of Occupy Hartford and a group satirically calling themselves "Millionaires for McMahon" staged a protest on Avon Mountain Sunday morning, in front of the entrance to the driveway of Arnold Chase's mansion where a fundraiser for Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was being held.
Police blocked traffic on the westbound righthand lane of Albany Ave. as demonstrators stood with signs and marched to and from the parking area at MDC Reservoir #6. The West Hartford fundraiser, where guests paid $1,000 to $10,000 to attend, was the first of three Connecticut appearances for Ryan on Sunday. The fundraiser was closed to the media.
The "Millionaires for McMahon," dressed in tuxedos and cocktail dresses and sipping champagne, used satire to deliver their message. Chants of "Save our yachts!" and "We are the 1 percent!" were heard as they marched back to their staging ground at MDC Reservoir #6 from the demonstration site across from Chase's 3115 Albany Ave. home.
Occupy Hartford's protest was more traditional, as the group held signs declaring "Votes Not For Sale" and "Stop the War on Women."
In a news release issued prior to the protest, Rebecca Burton of Occupy Hartford said, “What we're highlighting is the immoral and unethical power of big money in politics. We find it disgusting that Ryan and the Republican party chose the LARGEST SINGLE-FAMILY HOME in New England, an obscene 60,000 sq. ft. monument to Arnold Chase's vanity, as the venue for their fundraising luncheon. Just five miles east of Chase's mansion, on the very same Albany Avenue, lies Hartford, one of the country's poorest cities in one of its richest states. We believe Ryan should travel those five miles and talk to people in Hartford; real people with real issues. That's not going to happen, of course, so we decided we'd bring the dialogue to him and his 1 percent cronies."
Garret Schenck of Occupy Hartford said in the release that the protest against Paul Ryan did not mean that Occupy Hartford was taking a position in the presidential race. "Not at all, I think our position is best summed up by: A plague on both their houses, but especially THIS house. Both parties play similar fundraising games. Neither party trusts the vast number of voters, who are seen as objects to be manipulated with the money their candidates solicit from the 1 percent. Two years ago Chase gave money to Democrats. Now it's the Republicans. Flip a coin – either way we lose and Chase and company win."