One of Washington's most powerful Republicans on Friday decried "as mobs" the anti-Wall Street protestors who have mounted growing demonstrations across America.
Eric Cantor, the leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives, commented on the protests a day after President Barack Obama said they were a symptom of public frustration with the economy and the antics of banks.
"I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country," Cantor said at a Values Voter Summit of social and evangelical conservatives in Washington.
"Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans," Cantor said.
Thousands of anti-corporate demonstrators, who have now been joined by some trade unions have been mounting protests in lower Manhattan, where Wall Street is located, for more than two weeks.
Demonstrations have now spread to other cities, including Washington D.C.
On Thursday, Obama was asked to comment on the protests during a White House press conference, as some pundits compared the mounting demonstrations to the right-wing Tea Party movement which fired up conservative voters in 2010.
"I have seen it on TV and I think it expresses the frustration that the American people feel," Obama said of the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations.
Obama argued that people disliked that top bankers and financial firms, which caused the crisis, were now trying to fight regulation.
"You're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place," he said.
"I think people are frustrated and, you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad based frustration about how our financial system works."
Obama argued that with his Wall Street reform bill, his administration had made serious efforts to crack down on irresponsibility in the financial sector that had helped cause the financial crisis.
Source: AFP American Edition