Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011-11-17 "Dozens of Occupy protesters arrested at bank sit-in; Demonstrators from UC rush Financial District BofA branch" by Demian Bulwa, Kevin Fagan, Carolyn Jones, Justin Berton and Erin Allday from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Dozens of college students from Northern California took their Occupy-flavored protest indoors with a noisy flourish Wednesday, cramming into a Bank of America branch in the Financial District, pitching a tent and chanting "shame, shame" until they were arrested.
The protesters invaded the bank as part of an afternoon march through downtown San Francisco to denounce University of California regents, calling them rich people who are callous to the economic woes of public higher education.
Many demonstrators came from Occupy Cal at UC Berkeley, where a knot of fellow students stayed behind to tend an illegal tent city on the steps of Sproul Hall.
The bank occupation began when about 200 marchers rushed into the BofA branch at Davis and California streets about 2:10 p.m. and jumped onto desks and chairs and honked an air horn. Several workers fled, and after several minutes many of the demonstrators went outside to rejoin 200 other marchers waving signs on the sidewalk.

Trespassing arrests -
The 100 or so protesters left inside erected a single tent on the floor, then sat down and linked arms. About 4 p.m. a phalanx of San Francisco police officers began taking them into custody, one by one, until all were removed after about two hours. Authorities said they would be charged with trespassing. A total of 95 people were arrested, San Francisco police said.
"Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" several chanted. One participant urinated in a corner of the bank office.
There was a brief skirmish outside while police moved some protesters back with batons to get them away from a line of officers, but nobody appeared to have been injured, authorities said.
The protesters said one reason they targeted Bank of America is that UC Regent Monica Lozano is on the bank's board of directors. They blame regents for consistently raising tuition and fees in response to deep cuts in state funding.

Daylong rally -
The downtown march and rally involved about 400 students who came by bus from as far away as UC Merced.
They had intended to picket a UC regents meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday in San Francisco. But when UC officials canceled that meeting for fear of violence, the demonstrators targeted businesses instead.
Organizers from Occupy Cal and ReFund California - a coalition that protests the activities of banks - cited affiliations between several regents and big businesses and said the regents are part of the nation's wealthiest "1 percent," who are derided by Occupy movements as representing greed and economic inequity.
Gaston Lau, a 21-year-old student at City College of San Francisco, said he went to UC Berkeley last year, but switched to the community college because he couldn't afford tuition and fees of $13,218 a year.
"Once the Occupy movement took off, it re-energized a student movement that had been demoralized and beaten down," Lau said. "We are in this deep hole, but the system has a crack in it right now and our job is to open up that crack."

Long route -
The activists started the day's campaign with an hour of speeches at the Occupy SF camp at Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero. At about 1:15 p.m. they headed to the Financial District, where they briefly sat in protest outside the office of investment banker and Regent Richard Blum and at a Wells Fargo bank branch.
As the arrests at Bank of America progressed, about 200 protesters marched to the State Building near City Hall, gave speeches, then loaded into buses for home around 6 p.m.
Most of the demonstrators were students from UC campuses in Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz and Merced. Also represented were students from California State University campuses in San Francisco and Fresno, as well as City College of San Francisco.

'Passion' praised -
UC President Mark Yudof issued a statement praising the students' "passion" for higher education, and said blame for the system's troubles lies with "a long pattern of state disinvestment in the University of California." He urged them to pressure political leaders to make UC a higher funding priority.
About 25 students from Cal State East Bay staged a rally Wednesday on their Hayward campus in sympathy with the San Francisco marchers.
Meanwhile, across the bay at UC Berkeley, a few dozen protesters staged a mellow, almost festive demonstration on the steps of Sproul Hall. The encampment, installed Tuesday night in defiance of university orders, included a dozen tents, two pianos, bookshelves, a tepee and a 10-foot papier-mache Tyrannosaurus rex.
Every hour, police ordered the protesters to remove their tents or risk arrest. No one left, and no one was arrested.
"We're committed to defending the tents as much as we're able, but I think the consensus is we want Occupy Cal to be a peaceful protest," said Ian Saxton, 29, a doctoral student in music.
The university appeared willing to tolerate the camp for the time being.
"Campus policies that forbid encampment still stand, and they will be enforced when we feel we can safely manage the situation," said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Hundreds of students storm inside the Bank of America in the financial district, Wed. Nov. 16, 2011, in San Francisco, Calif. The protest ended with the arrest of more than 70 people. Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

The desk of a bank official is surrounded as protesters make their way into the Bank of America at 50 California Street, as hundreds of people made up of Occupy SF members and local University students marched through the financial district on Wednesday November 16, 2011 in San Francisco, Ca. Credit: Michael Macor

Protesters brough a tent into the building as they occupy the Bank of America at 50 California street and wait to placed under arrested and taken away, as hundreds of people made up of Occupy SF members and local University students marched through the financial district on Wednesday November 16, 2011 in San Francisco, Ca. Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle

 Protesters sit in a tent erected in the Bank of America branch at 50 California St. as they wait to be arrested for trespassing. Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle

A protester is carried out of the Bank of America branch at 50 California St. in the Financial District after being arrested. Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

Protesters who illegally occupied the Bank of Amerca are arrested and taken away, as hundreds of people made up of Occupy SF members and local University students marched through the financial district on Wednesday November 16, 2011 in San Francisco, Ca. Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle

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