Friday, Mar 16, 2012, 8:58 am
Occupy Rages Against Bank of America as 6-Month Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off
Occupy Wall Street protesters are preparing to celebrate the six-month anniversary of the movement, and activists kicked off festivities on Thursday with a protest against Bank of America.
About 50 people rallied outside BoA as part of a nationwide demonstration to symbolically "foreclose" on the bank. Activists set up a mini living room, complete with a couch, armchair, house plant, and bookcase, and speakers addresses the crowd about BoA's foreclosure frenzy despite having received a massive taxpayer bailout.
(Photo: Dylan Novak is arrested, all photos by Allison Kilkenny).
Even though the turnout was modest, the NYPD arrived in full force with about a 2:1 police-to-protester ratio. A young woman was the first to be arrested for crossing the street even though she had the right of way (photograph above). At least four young men were also arrested at the BoA protest, including Max Berger, whose Occupy tweets I've previously referenced. Press TV Global News puts the arrest estimate as between six and ten individuals.
Protesters decided to wrap up the day's action with a return to Zuccotti. On the way back to the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement, two young women stormed into the lobby of a Chase bank, shouting, "Class war!" Security pulled the activists outside and the bank's manager quickly hurried over and promptly locked the doors.
The Occupiers half-walked, half-ran back to the small concrete patch that served as their home for almost two months, and chanted "spring is coming" as they wrapped police tape around the park's trees and the base of sculptor Mark di Suvero's Joie de Vivre AKA "the red (or orange) thing," a highly appropriate act considering "Joie de vivre" is a phrase used to express an exultation of the spirit.
Occupy Wall Street returns to Zuccotti
It was at Zuccotti protesters announced their training plans for the spring, weekly seminars that will prepare activists for what the protest group has planned for the upcoming months.
Much of the plans remain secret, either because giving away their strategy would allow police to gain the upper hand, or because planning is still in the works.
What we do know is that enormous amounts of preparation have gone into the May Day "General Strike" protests, and Occupiers become practically giddy with excitement when asked about spring and summer aims. It's impossible to walk long in New York City without seeing graffiti for the May Day protests or Occupy.
(Photos: a protester expresses himself outside Bank of America, Occupy graffiti seen in NYC subway station).
Actions are planned throughout the weekend with Monsanto receiving its time in the protest spotlight Friday.
The Genetic Crime Unit (GCU), a group designed to protest America from genetically modified foods, will wear bio-hazmat suits when they visit Congress today. GSU opposes Monsanto's bid to increase spraying food with toxic weed killers like 2,4 D (the main ingredient in Agent Orange,) genetic contamination of the organic food supply, and other risks associated with genetically modified food (GMOs).
"In the name of Wall Street profits, chemical corporations such as Monsanto genetically engineer crops to withstand high doses of their toxic weed killers that contaminate our food and water, and have not been proven safe. We deserve to know what we are eating. Virtually every major country requires labeling of GMOs in foods so their citizens can make informed choices, including all of Europe, Japan and even China," said GCU's Ariel Vegosen. "Monsanto's lobbying dollars are pouring into politicians so its clear we have a GMO contaminated US Congress that threatens our health and the health of the planet," says Vegosen.
Protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at 1 PM on Saturday for the six-month anniversary and will march to "raise awareness about food & economic injustice both past and present," according to the group's website.
Bank of America foreclosure protest with mock living room:
Allison Kilkenny is an In These Times Staff Writer and the co-host of the critically acclaimed radio show Citizen Radio. Her blog for In These Times, Uprising, focuses on efforts around the world to address the global economic crisis.