Having spread to major cities such as Philadelphia, the Occupy Wall Street movement appears to be opening suburban branches.
For local evidence, look no farther than Doylestown, where a two-hour mini-occupation is planned for 4 p.m. Thursday.
Demonstrators will gather at the town's busiest intersection - State and Main Streets - "to show solidarity for all the other protesters around the country," said Marlene Pray, a local activist and Borough Council candidate.
Organizers tout the Doylestown event as part of a week of widespread protests "to show the human impact of the economic crisis."
Pray said Monday that almost 1,400 separate events tied to Occupy Wall Street are planned or taking place around the country.
The movement, which began Sept. 17 in a park near Manhattan's financial district, is described by its backers as an expression of frustration over corporate power, Wall Street greed, the widening gap between rich and poor Americans, and other class-related issues.
Asked why such a protest is being held in an upscale community such as Doylestown, Pray listed a string of statistics about the number of people who are jobless, without health insurance, or in need of government assistance to eat.
"All of those numbers have faces of people in Doylestown," Pray said. A local food bank that once drew 50 people per month served 1,000 last month, she added.
"So this is a local issue involving suburban people," she said. "We want to hold both political parties, and Wall Street, accountable."
Similar events are being planned in Quakertown, Sellersville, Perkasie, New Hope, and Trenton, Pray said.
Another rally is planned for 4 p.m. Wednesday outside the Middletown Township office of U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Bucks). Penn Action, an advocacy group, is soliciting letters urging job creation measures that will be delivered to Fitzpatrick.
Doylestown Borough Manager John Davis said organizers have cleared the event with borough police, who expect no problems.
"It's basically a free-speech thing," Davis said. "They just need to not block pedestrians on the sidewalk, and not stop traffic from passing by."