Occupy Protests Close Downtown Banks
Protesters from Occupy San Francisco and dozens of labor, housing and activist groups participated today in multiple actions targeting financial and other corporations. At least 18 people were arrested while blocking Wells Fargo’s downtown headquarters and a Bank of America branch. The latest from Twitter and rolling updates below.
From the Trib’s 7:15 entry:
Protesters and police had a tense scuffle after as many as 1,000 marchers headed to Geary Street and Van Ness Avenue to take over the abandoned Cathedral Hill Hotel.
Riot police were waiting at the hotel when protesters arrived and barricades blocked the entrance to the famed hotel entrance on Van Ness Avenue.
Some of the protesters tried to tear down the barricades, but police used pepper spray to stop them. Police tried to stop the protesters who were pulling the barricades and some were struck with batons.
Occupiers later went around to the back of the hotel and broke in, with dozens climbing on the roof in celebration.
In October, protesters occupied two long vacant hotel properties, including the Cathedral Hill Hotel, as a sign that homeless people need more housing. They were booted out by police.
The Chronicle’s take as of 8 p.m.
Occupy’s Financial District protest falls short
Lots of rain. Lots of noise. Few arrests, and smaller crowds than expected.
All in all, Friday’s big Occupy movement attempt to shut down San Francisco’s Financial District was a mixed success for the protesters who led it – and something of a relief for those who had feared it. Full article
5:34 p.m. Live mobile webcast from a protester…
4 p.m. Update from KQED’s Mina Kim, in the rain:
It’s a scene here at the corner of Montgomery and Calfornia. Minutes ago a bus pulled up blasting music with the words “resistance is fertile” on it. That really excited protesters, and the bus is now wending its way down California, where traffic is moving at a slow pace.
The largest police presence I’m seeing is on California Street at a building adjacent to the Wells Fargo, where protesters had chained themselves earlier in the day, and which is now boarded up.
As for Bank of America, its seems police are allowing protesters to mill about in front of it. Protesters say they plan to stay at least until 5 p.m. There’s some question as to whether they will then head to Justin Herman Plaza for a closing march or whether people at Justin Herman will march to the bank.
2:40 p.m. Here’s a video that purports to be of Occupy D.C. protesters surrounding Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s cab yesterday as she arrived for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. (You can’t see who’s in the cab.) The Oakland Tribune has a report on the incident.
2:00 p.m. From KCBS’s Doug Sovern:
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) January 20, 2012
1:35 p.m. Peter Jon Shuler reports on the latest arrest totals from police:
Eighteen arrests total, seven this morning for blocking the Wells Fargo building at Montgomery and California. A Sacramento Street entrance to the building was cleared, but protesters later returned and were arrested. Some were also arrested at another entrance to the building.
There are still people blocking the branch, which is closed, police said.
Protesters are still chained to the Bank of America across the street; that branch is also closed.
And from the Chronicle:
Across town in the Mission District, a crowd of elderly protesters marched outside of a Bank of America branch.
Also, the SFMTA is issuing updates on disruptions due to the protests.
11:50 a.m. The latest from AP:
At least 11 people have been arrested at an anti-Wall Street protest in downtown San Francisco for blocking an entrance to the Wells Fargo building.
A couple of hundred protesters have gathered in the Financial District as part of daylong Occupy Wall Street-related demonstrations scheduled around the county demanding that banks end evictions and foreclosures. Traffic was rerouted through the area, as protesters spilled into the streets…
Protesters are continuing to try blocking bank entrances, but police in riot gear and private security guards are chasing them away.
11:05 a.m. From KCBS news:
Protesters have pitched tent in middle of SF’s Montgomery St near where Occupy demonstrations are blocking 2 banks, part of daylong protest
11:00 a.m. From the Oakland Tribune’s live blog:
Protesters have closed traffic on Montgomery Street between Pine and California streets. Two banks located there, Bank of America and US Bank, have closed down. Massive banner reads ‘Wanted: Bank of America for profiteering off people and the planet’ in the middle of Montgomery Street.
Peter Jon Shuler, our reporter on the scene, talked to one of the B of A protesters. “I’m here because we’re taking a stand for justice and the planet,” said Drew Dellinger. “And we’re blockading Bank of America, one of the big Wall Street corporate banks that have gotten bailed out while our communities have been sold out.”
9:55 a.m. Police Commander Richard Corriea tells Peter Jon Shuler that seven people blocking the Sacramento Street entrance to Wells Fargo have been arrested.
Corriea said police requested the protesters move, and when they didn’t comply they were arrested. He said the arrests were strictly a safety measure to ensure that people could exit from the building, and that gaining access for Wells employees who had been shut out was not a concern. Some employees who had not been able to enter did go in after the entrance was cleared.
9:45 a.m. From the SF Appeal:
Dozens of people in front of the Wells Fargo building were singing and dancing along to a Lady Gaga song shortly before 9 a.m., while the protesters blocking the Bank of America were locked arm-in-arm to prevent people from getting inside.
Someone is live streaming from downtown now.
9:35 a.m. Peter Jon Shuler reports that police in riot gear and fire department personnel have cordoned off a section of Sacramento Street in order to unblock a side entrance to the Wells Fargo. Employees are now being escorted in.
Peter Jon Shuler says police would have had to clear protesters in order to gain access to the entrance.
Earlier post KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler reports that all entrances to the Wells Fargo headquarters and branch at California and Montgomery streets have been blocked by at least a hundred protesters participating in a day of actions by Occupy San Francisco and other groups who have coalesced under the name Occupy Wall Street West.
Some protesters are chained to the doors. Most are sitting in a circle joined together by yellow PVC pipes bolted to their hands.
Wells employees cannot enter the building. A dozen or so have banded together across the street from the bank. One worker engaged in a yelling match with a protester after the protester shouted, “come join us.”
“Are you going to pay my mortgage?” the employee yelled back.
The police presence is light.
Protesters say more than 50 labor, housing and activist groups will participate in today’s actions, which are scheduled to end with a 5 p.m. rally and march to reclaim a foreclosed building in the Financial District. The day started early this morning with a “squid fry” at Goldman Sachs, an allusion to a Rolling Stone magazine piece about the financial firm in which writer Matt Taibbi wrote, “the world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
The protests will also include a rally at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center and an Iraq Veterans Against the War protest at the downtown office of the Bechtel, a military contractor.
A Saturday event to mark the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is also planned. the ruling has opened the door to unrestricted campaign donations from corporations, as well as from labor unions.
KQED’s Ian Hill has curated photos and other web content, documenting how the day has developed so far…