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Occupy Grand Rapids protests big banks

By Tom Burke |
January 30, 2012
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Occupy Grand Rapids protest at bank with octopus, representing the corporate ten
Occupy Grand Rapids protest at bank with octopus, representing the corporate tentacles reaching into all aspects of American life. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Occupy Grand Rapids protests at Bank of America.
Occupy Grand Rapids protests at Bank of America.

Grand Rapids, MI - Occupy Grand Rapids protested big banks with a march here, Jan. 27. Twenty-five Grand Rapidians gathered in the snow under the Union Soldier Monument downtown. They marched with a giant orange octopus, representing the corporate tentacles reaching into all aspects of American life. Members of Occupy Grand Rapids read speeches revealing the racist, undemocratic and abusive practices of each corporate bank. Stopping outside each of the six corporate banks branches including PNG, Bank of America and Fifth Third Bank, speakers exposed the banks’ role in home foreclosures, predatory lending and student loan debt.

While marching, Occupy Grand Rapids chanted, “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!” and “We are the 99%. You are the 99%.” There was even singing about the need for revolution and a new type of society.

At the first bank, PNG, the entire Occupy group, including the octopus, entered the corporate lobby and were met by a bank manager demanding they leave immediately. After an exchange of views, the manager threatened to call corporate management and the police. Unmoved, occupiers chanted for a few more minutes and then stepped outside to be more visible to the public while the first speech was read. The march continued through downtown with speeches at each bank and many car horns blaring support for Occupy Wall Street and well-wishers waving on a bright winter’s day. Occupy Grand Rapids continues to camp at the Fountain Street Church and hold General Assemblies every Sunday afternoon, making plans for more protests.

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