ACTION ALERT: Anti-Wall Street Protests in 1,500 CIties: In US, Banks Arrest Customers
October 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street.org & Red Green & Blue
After triumphing in a standoff with the city over the continued protest of Wall Street at Liberty Square in Manhattan's financial district, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread world wide today with demonstrations in over 1,500 cities globally and over 100 US cities from coast to coast. Meanwhile, in New York City, CitiBank calls police to arrest customers who tried to close their own CitiBank accounts.
From Tahrir Square to Times Square: Protests Erupt in Over 1,500 Cities Worldwide
Occupy Wall Street.org
Tens of Thousands Flood the Streets of Global Financial Centers, Capitol Cities and Small Towns to "Occupy Together" Against Wall Street. Mid-Town Manhattan Jammed as Marches Converge in Times Square.
WALL STREET, NY (Oct. 16, 2011) -- After triumphing in a standoff with the city over the continued protest of Wall Street at Liberty Square in Manhattan's financial district, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread world wide today with demonstrations in over 1,500 cities globally and over 100 US cities from coast to coast.
In New York, thousands marched in various protests by trade unions, students, environmentalists, and community groups. As occupiers flocked to Washington Square Park, two dozen participants were arrested at a nearby Citibank while attempting to withdraw their accounts from the global banking giant.
"I am occupying Wall Street because it is my future, my generations' future, that is at stake," said Linnea Palmer Paton, 23, a student at New York University. "Inspired by the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, tonight we are are coming together in Times Square to show the world that the power of the people is an unstoppable force of global change. Today, we are fighting back against the dictators of our country - the Wall Street banks - and we are winning."
New Yorkers congregated in assemblies organized by borough, and then flooded the subway system en mass to join the movement in Manhattan. A group calling itself Todo Boricua Para Wall Street marched as a Puerto Rican contingent of several hundred playing traditional music and waving the Lares flag, a symbol of resistance to colonial Spain.
"Puerto Ricans are the 99% and we will continue to join our brothers and sisters in occupying Wall Street," said David Galarza Santa, a trade unionist from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. "We are here to stand with all Latinos, who are being scapegoated by the 1%, while it is the bankers who have caused this crisis and the banks who are breaking the law."
While the spotlight is on New York, "occupy" actions are also happening all across the Midwestern and the Southern United States, from Ashland, Kentucky to Dallas, Texas to Ketchum, Idaho. Four hundred Iowans marched in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday as part of the day of action:
"People are suffering here in Iowa. Family farmers are struggling, students face mounting debt and fewer good jobs, and household incomes are plummeting," said Judy Lonning a 69-year-old retired public school teacher. "We're not willing to keep suffering for Wall Street's sins. People here are waking up and realizing that we can't just go to the ballot box. We're building a movement to make our leaders listen."
Protests filled streets of financial districts from Berlin, to Athens, Auckland to Mumbai, Tokyo to Seoul. In the UK over 3,000 people attempted to occupy the London Stock Exchange. "The financial system benefits a handful of banks at the expense of everyday people," said Spyro Van Leemnen, a 27-year old public relations agent in London and a core member of the demonstrators. "The same people who are responsible for the recession are getting away with massive bonuses. This is fundamentally unfair and undemocratic."
In South Africa, about 80 people gathered at the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, Talk Radio 702 reported. Protests continued despite police efforts to declare the gathering illegal. In Taiwan, organizers drew several hundred demonstrators, who mostly sat quietly outside the Taipei World Financial Center, known as Taipei 101.
600 people have begun an occupation of Confederation Park in Ottawa, Canada today to join the global day of action. "I am here today to stand with Indigenous Peoples around the world who are resisting this corrupt global banking system that puts profits before human rights," said Ben Powless, Mohawk citizen and indigenous youth leader. "Native Peoples are the 99%, and we've been resisting the 1% since 1492. We're marching today for self- determination and dignity against a system that has robbed our lands, poisoned our waters, and oppressed our people for generations. Today we join with those in New York and around the world to say, No More!"
In Australia, about 800 people gathered in Sydney's central business district, carrying cardboard banners and chanting "Human need, not corporate greed." Protesters will camp indefinitely "to organize, discuss and build a movement for a different world, not run by the super-rich 1%," according to a statement on the Occupy Sydney website.
The movement's success is due in part to the use of online technologies and international social networking. The rapid spread of the protests is a grassroots response to the overwhelming inequalities perpetuated by the global financial system and transnational banks. More actions are expected in the coming weeks, and the Occupation of Liberty Square in Manhattan will continue indefinitely.
Occupy Wall Street is a people powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan's Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.
The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Italy and the UK, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people who are writing the rules of the global economy are imposing an agenda of neoliberalism and economic inequality that is foreclosing our future.
Citibank Arrests Customers for Trying to Close their Own Bank Accounts!
Jeremy Bloom / Red Green and Blue.org
(October 15, 2011) -- In what can only be the stupidest public relations move in corporate history, financial behemoth Citibank reacted to customers trying to close their accounts today by… bringing in a ton of cops and having them arrested.
Even in the dark days of the 1930s and the great depression, when there were actual panics and bank runs, nobody tried such a spectacularly stupid move.
Here's how it went down at the Citibank branch at 555 La Guardia Place in New York. What you can't see on the video below: The demonstrators (all Citibank customers) were asked to leave, and when they tried to comply Citibank's security locked them in and wouldn't let them leave!
Twenty-three were arrested, including the woman at the end in the nice-looking business suit. (I think it's really cool that the Occupiers have developed hand signals to exchange critical information during emergencies.):
UPDATE: Here's the official response from Citibank. Take it, as usual, with a huge grain of salt. As in, where does locking the protesters in the bank, and dragging people who HAD left the back into the bank, fit in with "They refused to leave"?
"A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated."
Note to those attempting to justify Citibank's actions by saying "The protesters must have gone in there yelling and screaming"… READ CITIBANK'S STATEMENT. You had better believe if there had been yelling and screaming, they would have said so. Instead they used those lovely weasel words, "They were very disruptive". Note that that covers just about anything, since by definition a largish group of people walking into a bank desiring to close their accounts is going to disrupt the normal flow of business even if they're NOT talking.
See the next video. Note how "disruptive" the two girls at Bank of America are -- it shows the entire thing. The only thing "disruptive" is the bank manager refusing to serve them and insisting that they leave THEIR OWN BANK BRANCH.
UPDATE: Here's an additional video that took place earlier this week in Santa Cruz. This time the camera is there from the beginning. Two girls walk into a Bank of America branch, one carrying a sign that merely states her intent to close her account. The bank manager tells her she has to leave and says if they don't, she will call 911. There was no disruption, no shouting. Watch the whole thing.
What you can do:
• Call Citibank President Vikram Pandit and tell him to stop arresting his customers. He told Fortune magazine he'd be happy to talk to Occupy Wall Street! His office line is (212) 793-1201, and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Other numbers to try: (866) 213-0890, (718) 248-6433 or (210) 677-7284, or on Twitter @askCiti
• Take the pledge -- tell us in comments if you're going to close your Citibank (or Bank of American) account on Monday! Take your business to a good local credit union or bank. Find a local credit union.
• Find out about your local Occupy events happening today via Occupy Together