NEW YORK — Noisy protesters with signs took over three bank building
lobbies on Thursday in a prelude to a Wall Street rally by workers and
union leaders angry over lost jobs, the taxpayer-funded bailout of
financial institutions and questionable lending practices by big banks.
before the scheduled rally, more than 100 people entered a midtown
Manhattan building housing JPMorgan Chase offices. They handed a bank
executive a letter requesting a meeting with the CEO, and chanted "Bust
up big banks!" and "People power!"
A half-hour later, they were
calmly escorted outside by officers, who remained expressionless as the
protesters chanted, "The police need a raise."
They then walked a
few blocks down Park Avenue and crowded into a Wells Fargo and Wachovia
building lobby. Police arrived on horseback as curious office workers
watched the scene unfold from their windows.
"We're here today to
stop the corporate greed that is ruining our neighborhoods," said Andrea
Goldman, 59, of Springfield, Mass., who's part of a group called
Alliance to Develop Power.
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Sign slogans included: "Save Our Jobs"
and "Save Our Homes."
The banks did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
Thousands of workers and union members were
expected at the rally, organized by the AFL-CIO and an association of
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets
Association, which includes many Wall Street financial institutions,
declined to comment.