Police arrested 24 protesters for trespassing at a Citibank branch, a New York Police Department spokesman said.
Citibank has always been a bit of a fumbling behemoth, barely – with bailout assistance from U.S. tax payers – scraping through the global financial crisis in tact, it now face an entirely new wave of trouble. Days after Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit talked about his sympathies with Occupy Wall Street and his willingness to engage with protesters. A Citibank branch in New York has locked the doors of their branch and arrested a group of Citibank account holders who wished to to close their accounts. It’s clear that Citibank are terrified that a few accounts closing will escalate to a run on the bank. “It would only take a small percentage of account holders to prove that Citibank is an economic hologram and like much of the financial sector, is desperately hiding how weak it is. The 99% are waking up and realise they’ve been duped, fleeced,conned and bullied for far too long” said Jeremy Bloom. “NOT even in the dark dark days of the 1930s great depression – when there was actual panic – did we see anything this stupid” Here’s how it went down at the Citibank branch at 555 La Guardia Place in New York. 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! 24 were arrested. Clearly nothing is ever this simple!?
It’s uncertain if this incident was an Occupy Wall Street stunt, or just pure stupidity on Citibanks behalf, is now irrelevant. This story has gone viral and Citibank isn’t ever going to be the good-guy. As the rest of the galaxy wakes to the thought of passive protest, the Occupy Wall Street movement has seen a resurgence of Eric Cantona’s call for people to withdraw their money from the banks In an effort to send a message to big banks, some organizers, who are supported by the protestors of the Occupy Wall Street movement, have organized an event to remove all funds from banks and into credit unions.
“Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will ALWAYS remember the 5th of November!! If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions on or by this date, we will send a clear message and give the 1% a taste of the fear that we experience every day when we aren’t able to pay for our rent, food, medication, utilities, student loans, etc.”
The Citibank incident isn’t isolated, Bank of America has also suffered simalr bad PR acroos the U.S.A. It’s still not clear why the people were arrested, but speculation is that when the bank would not allow customers to close their accounts, the customers began to protest. It’s also unclear if it was police or the banks manager, who made decision to lock customers in.
The arrests seem so contrived that you can’t help but be amused at Citibank falling straight into this one. One woman who was talking angrily with police outside the building was manhandled by what appears to be a plain clothes officer and dragged inside by about five other police officers.
Reports are saying that two people who succeeded in closing their account left the bank but were forced back inside by police and security officials. The NY police department refused to comment on specific cases.
The NYC police department is not doing itself any favors by acting with such force towards the people it’s supposed to be protecting. Citibank, likewise, isn’t going to garner any kind of support among its customer base for refusing to allow customers to withdraw their money.
Corporate greed, a police state, citizens arrested for voicing their opinions. Unfortunately, it looks as if the United States is living proof that ‘1984’ has come to pass.
Here’s the official statement from Citibank:
“A large number 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.”
To be clear: no one was arrested for closing an account; we didn’t lock people in our branch – the police decided to close the branch; and we didn’t ask for anyone to be arrested – that is a police decision.
It’s a PR disaster of Greek Tragedy proportions, Citibank needs to stop talking, communication isn’t they’re strong point . . .
Meanwhile, At least 88 people have been arrested in New York after police on horseback clashed with protesters in Times Square during a global day of demonstrations against corporate greed. Police loaded at least 45 “Occupy Wall Street” protesters detained at the square on to waiting vans. Thousands of demonstrators mixed with tourists had poured into the area amid a heavy security presence. The clashes took place at the corner of 46th Street and Seventh Avenue after a day of marches that began in the city’s financial district – the nerve centre of New York’s protest movement. Mounted police pushed back protesters who were trying to enter Times Square. Dozens of panicked people then began to run and a woman fell. She suffered a head injury and was swiftly carried away on a stretcher.
Fourteen people were arrested in the park after the Times Square rally for violating the midnight curfew, an NYPD spokesman said. Five other protesters wearing masks were arrested elsewhere in the city, taking the total number of arrests to 88, police said. Demonstrators also walked to a Chase bank branch in support of the 14,000 workers sacked by the lender in the wake of cutbacks made after a government bailout totalling $94.7 billion.
Students, families with strollers and trade unionists marched towards Wall Street carrying placards, chanting: “We are the 99 per cent,” “We are the people” and “Mr Obama, we need your support.” Families joined the march and tourists on several open-top buses cheered on the protesters by making the V for victory sign.
The Occupy Wall Street movement was buoyed by a decision on Friday to halt plans to evict protesters from the city’s Zuccotti Park, which they have called home for a month.
In Washington, between 2000 and 3000 people assembled at the National Mall on the eve of the inauguration of a memorial to murdered Nobel peace laureate Martin Luther King.
Veteran activist Al Sharpton chimed in: “Occupy Wall Street, occupy Washington, occupy Alabama! We’ve come to take our country back to the people.”
200 demonstrators in the US capital had earlier marched to a Bank of America branch, where they had planned to close accounts. But they were not allowed inside and the bank was hastily closed.
In Miami, a city that rarely hosts mass demonstrations, at least 1000 people marched downtown. The crowd included youth and retirees standing up against corporations, banks and war.
Hollywood actor Sean Penn became the latest celebrity to offer his backing to the movement, saying on CNN late Friday: “I applaud the spirit of what is happening now on Wall Street.
“This generation – and this does begin, I think significantly with the Arab Spring – is starting to tell the world that we cannot be controlled by fear anymore and we will not be denied.”
The protest have begun to trickle through to other cities internationally, and while most protests have been peaceful, Rome was alight over the weekend:
Masked anarchists created chaos in the center of Rome, setting fire to cars on Saturday, protests were peaceful elsewhere — in Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Manila, Zurich, Lisbon, London, Frankfurt, Berlin and Sydney. The Rome demonstration alone drew an estimated 100,000, with Occupy Wall Street supporters trying to isolate the anarchists to no avail. At least 70 people, including 30 police officers, were injured. In London, protesters — including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — took part in “Occupy London Stock Exchange.
In a common worldwide theme, protesters insisted they represented the “99 percent” — a reference to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz’s study that showed the upper 1 percent of Americans now take in nearly 25 percent of the nation’s income every year.
“In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent,” Stiglitz wrote in Vanity Fair magazine in May. “Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.”
Thousands of New York demonstrators filled Times Square on Saturday night, mixing with gawkers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.