Demonstrators arrested in downtown anti-Wall Street protests

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageTen anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested downtown Thursday afternoon after entering a Bank of America. They were a small part of Re-fund California, a coalition that marched to protest bank policies. They were joined by demonstrators from Occupy LA, who’ve been camping outside City Hall since this weekend.

The march started with a rally at California Plaza, then snaked its way through the skyscrapers and food plazas in the financial heart of LA.

The marchers stopped at the intersection of 7th and Figueroa streets, in front of both a Bank of America branch and a Chase Bank office in the Ernst and Young plaza.

The marchers were young and old; black, white, Hispanic, Asian; students, grandparents, homeowners, young families. All were upset with the irresponsibility of financial organizations.

Barbara Gustafson joined the protest after she saw a lack of cooperation from banks.

“It’s game playing and you don’t get the same person to talk to,” she said. “They don’t want to work with you because it behooves them to foreclose. I am not an activist by nature. I’ve been forced to do this.”

A police spokesperson estimated that 1,000 people turned up for the protest, which mirrors the Occupy LA protests of the last week.

James McDade works in the financial services industry, but said he supports the protesters.

“It’s democracy at work,” he said. “People have the right to express their opposition to ideas, and I think it’s great.”

The march was a coalition of groups including ACCE, the SEIU, and various faith-based groups.

Homeowners protest at the Los Angeles County Courthouse

By: Laurel Galanter and Benjamin Kapinos

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About a dozen homeowners facing foreclosure protested Thursday at the Los Angeles County Courthouse. The demonstration was organized by the Home Defenders League, which is calling for a moratorium on foreclosure across California. Twenty-three states have already made this commitment.

The movement has been fueled by homeowners angry at the banks for seizing homes. Across the country, millions of poeple have lost their homes. Peggy is one of them.

“These are the banks who are once again making a profit and on whose back,” Peggy said. “We the people. We’re fighting back. The phoenix has arisen. We’re fighting back.”

They are losing their homes for a lot of reasons. Some lost their jobs, had health problems or could not handle escalating interest rates. Peggy is angry because she thought that after she lost her job, she was negotiating with the bank in good faith.

“It’s terrible, it’s terrible,” Peggy said. “They take your money, and you still lose your home.”

Then, she received a notice of foreclosure without warning. The league is demanding that banks first negotiate with homeowners before putting their houses up on the auction block.