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Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein Arrested at Bank Protest

Charged with "defiant trespassing"

Common Dreams staff

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein was arrested during a protest at Fannie Mae in Philadelphia on Aug. 1, 2012.

Jill Stein, the Green Party's 2012 presidential candidate, was arrested in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon during a bank protest sit-in.

Stein, a Massachusetts resident and Harvard-educated doctor, was arrested along with four other Green Party members, the Associated Press reports, including her vice presidential running mate, Cheri Honkala, a single mother who once ran for Philadelphia sheriff.

The group of at least 50 activists were protesting at the offices of the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, KYW radio, Philadelphia reported.

"Millions have lost their homes already. Many millions are still in the pipeline," said Stein, outside of office tower where Fannie Mae's offices are located. "We are five years into this crisis and effectively nothing has been done about it."

Stein and the protesters then staged a sit-in on the floor of a first-floor bank in the office tower that lasted for several hours. Police eventually moved in and arrested Stein and the others. Police say they will face charges of "defiant trespassing."

"It's time for this game to end. It's time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators."
- Jill Stein
In explaining why she joined the protest, Stein said that almost half of Americans now live in poverty or near poverty, eight million families face eviction from their homes due to foreclosures, and over a third of mortgage holders are "underwater" - meaning that they owe more to the lenders than their properties are worth on the market.

Said Stein, "The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It's time for this game to end. It's time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators. It's time for a new deal for America, and a Green New Deal is what we will deliver on taking office. "

"The laws and the budgets and the procedures are designed to protect the lenders and to extract as much money as possible from the victims," Honkala explained. "This isn't the way it would be if we really had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first goal of government should be to keep families in their homes, and to provide restitution for the deception and fraud that has robbed millions of Americans of financial security."

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