It's Alive! Occupy Actions Across the Country Show the Movement's Impact
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Activists also targeted Bank of America.
From Harvey Milk Plaza, Occupiers marched to Sterling Bank & Trust, entered their lobby and demanded that they stop fractional interest loans. Protesters handed the manager of the bank a request and urged them to halt all evictions.
11 PM ET — San Francisco by Alyssa Figueroa
In San Francisco, activists, some who held various rallies throughout the day, convened at 5 P.M. in the city's Financial District. About 3,000 people gathered at 555 California St., a building, which used to be a Bank of America and is a symbol of the commercialization of the city. The action began with activists awarding the city's Foreclosure Fighters, a group that has worked tirelessly this past year to help fight against foreclosures. These Fighters have helped save 52 people's homes from foreclosure eviction and have stopped 300 homes from being auctioned.
The Foreclosure Fighters then led a march throughout the city's streets, shutting down many of them along the way, including Market St. The thousands of protesters marched in a celebratory, but still serious fashion - dancing to the live music, but also making sure to shout and chant.
Occupiers ended their march in front of the Wells Fargo building on Montgomery St., where they had planned to symbolically burn their debt. Police warned that they would interfere if the protesters used flames, so the debt was ripped up instead.
Protesters ripped up student loan debt as well as mortgage debt. One man even ripped up his $500,000 debt - mostly all, he said, coming from medical bills.
Although protesters were told not to use flames, one went rogue, however, and started burning up money. The crowd cheered passionately, and the police, who at this point lined the streets in their riot gear, did not get involved.
Occupy SF Direct Action Working Group member and MC for the night, Amy O'Hair, said she was happy that more people showed up than she expected.
“It looks like we got 3,000 people out, which is fantastic for a Monday evening, and lots of people came forward to tear up their debt,” O'Hair said. “I think people were in a celebratory mood. It felt really good to be in the streets.”
After the debt burning action, protesters hung out, ate some free food and painted the streets while they were waiting for a guerilla movie night to begin. Occupiers ended the night by displaying Occupy-related documentaries on a portable screen.
Kriss Kranus, an activist who attended the rally, said that although the Occupy movement still has a lot more work to do, in one year it has worked to expose structures that were once silenced.
“So today Occupy is a year old. And even though it's a year later, we're still facing the same hooligans we were a year ago. And San Francisco is a playground for the 1 percent, it always has been,” he said. “But in San Francisco, people are concerned about what's going on. And I think Occupy actually has created some real community discussions about decolonizing from this capitalistic state.”
11:30 PM ET — New York by Sarah Jaffe
Though rumors abounded that the unions and community groups had abandoned Occupy, in New York at least, that wasn't the case. While the overwhelming presence of May Day or even October 14 wasn't to be seen, a few hundred union and community group members braved the barricades at Zuccotti Park to come out in support. A crew from ACT UP, VOCAL-NY and Housing Works, many dressed in Robin Hood costumes, called for a tax on Wall Street to pay for health care, including AIDS care, and community group members from United NY, Strong Economy For All, and New York Communities for Change rallied with workers from companies that have been preyed upon by Bain Capital (and the now-famous and continually-terrifying Bain 15-foot puppet).