Daylong Nonviolent Occupation of “Wall St West”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 21, 2012

Contact:
OccupySF Press Team +1 415 937-7759, press@occupywallstwest.org

Daylong Nonviolent Occupation of “Wall St West”

Thousands Demand End to Bank Evictions and Foreclosures, End to Corporate Personhood

San Francisco – On January 20, 2012 (J20), thousands of San Francisco Bay Area residents occupied San Francisco’s Financial District as part of the Occupy Wall St West actions to demand that banks end predatory evictions and foreclosures and that corporations lose the rights of personhood. Protestors targeted banks and corporations that have damaged Bay Area communities, homes, education, environment, livelihood, and democracy.

Participants considered the Occupy Wall Street West (OWSW) J20 action a success. Thousands of people from every sector of the Bay Area braved cold and rain to stage dozens of direct actions and events in San Francisco’s Financial District, in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in disrupting the City Hall auction of bank-foreclosed homes.

One group kicked off the day of action dressed as giant squids at Goldman Sachs, which Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi refers to as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.

Protestors shut down Wells Fargo Corporate Headquarters on Montgomery Street by chaining themselves to the doors. Police arrested at least eleven protestors who demanded an end to predatory bank evictions and foreclosures.

Demonstrators also occupied Bank of America’s main branch at Montgomery and California streets, which the activists blockaded and shut down for nine hours. At Citicorp’s 1 Sansome office, protestors staged a mock foreclosure, piling furniture and moving boxes into the revolving door at the main entrance.

A half block away, clergy and religious leaders marched around the banks blowing the horns of Jericho. Two flash mobs performed throughout the day and a brass band a numerous poets and bans performed on a pedal powered sound system.

Iraq Veterans Against the War engaged in guerrilla theater, detaining fellow protestors on suspicion of “terrorism” in a protest against an unconstitutional provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, recently passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama, one provision of which permits the arrest and indefinite detention of US citizens anywhere in the world, including the US.

At Bechtel, 45 Beale Street, four activists, including Father Louis Vitale, read a list of numerous charges of war profiteering against the corporation in the building lobby.

Occupy Oakland’s mobile music bus led several marches through the Financial District. One BofA branch was transformed into the roving People’s Food Bank of America at 1 Market Street where a hot, nutritious, organic meal sustained freezing Occupiers. According to a mainstream press source, a presumably well-employed passerby told the mysterious amorphous black blob that oozed around the financial district to go get a job. An Occupier deftly replied, “The occupation is our job.”

Meanwhile, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Move To Amend activists held a teach-in featuring author Ted Nace and the local head of the National Lawyers Guild, drawing several hundred citizens who expressed their outrage at the US embrace of corporate personhood. As “Occupy the Courts” wrapped up, the group presented an oversized printed copy of the proposed 28th Amendment to Cathy Catterson, Executive of the Ninth US Circuit and Court of Appeals.

Then over at Occupy the Auction, Occupy Bernal protestors and supporters got the news that their planned protest at the weekly foreclosure auctions led Wells Fargo to postpone a foreclosure auction of the property rented by Bernal neighbors Maria and Washington Davila. Maria Davila and other foreclosure fighters thanked the crowd of about two hundred protestors for this first important step toward stopping banks from their predatory evictions and foreclosures throughout San Francisco.

Protestors stormed Fortress Investments to demand a halt to predatory equity scams where landlords and banks buy apartment buildings intending to remove rent-controlled units from the market so they can replace them with market-rate tenants. Other protestors occupied busses running on Market and Mission Streets to demand free transportation for youth.

Labor activists put foam in a fountain at the Grand Hyatt at Union Square to protest the anti-labor practices of the hotel chain, calling for a boycott in support of workers who are fighting for fair contracts at all three San Francisco Hyatts. Protestors led by the Filipino Community Center, with participation from the Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco, occupied the Citi Apartments office to fight for workers’ stolen wages.

A march ended at Van Ness Avenue at Geary where hundreds of protestors had a rainy standoff with the SFPD. Police pepper sprayed a dozen protestors. More than a hundred occupiers gained entrance to the Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1001 Van Ness Ave. where they held a housewarming party and occupied the hotel until the early hours of the following morning. A site of labor disputes, the hotel sits vacant while 10,000 homeless people are living on the streets of San Francisco.

Occupy Wall St West — a broad alliance of occupy and allied organizations and individuals had agreed that all actions would remain nonviolent and would not include damage to property. An incident of property damage by individuals who were not part of Occupy Wall St West occurred as an early evening march passed by on Van Ness Ave. The march immediately stopped and organizers and participants made sure no other such damage occurred.

The Occupy Wall Street West action involved dozens of affinity groups (people self-organized into groups to participate in the occupation) and over 55 labor, environmental, student, tenant, homeowner, arts, LGBT, peace, and community organizations targeting specific banks and corporations.

The January 20, 2012, Occupy Wall St West actions were the culmination of actions in which hundreds of protestors successfully shut down bank branches in the Excelsior, Mission, and Bernal neighborhoods. The Occupy Movement will continue to build a strategic mass movement asserting the power of the 99% for economic justice and a better world.

For featured news roll, videostreams, and twitter feeds:
See www.occupywallstwest.org and http://www.occupysf.org

To subscribe to the press list or obtain photos and video of the actions: www.occupywallstwest.org/press

Occupy SF strives to address and confront the injustices in our society by giving voice to the 99% through direct actions. OSF is simultaneously creating a new culture based on direct democracy, diversity, sustainable communities, and respect for all peoples and the environment.

Occupy SF Housing is a coalition which includes OccupySF, SF Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee of SF, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Eviction Defense Collaborative, ACCE, Homes Not Jails, Occupy Bernal, and other community groups and individuals. The coalition came together to stop banks from evicting tenants and homeowners through foreclosures or through their partnerships with real estate speculators.

Information on prior Occupy SF Housing actions:

Excelsior: www.occupywallstwest.org/wordpress/?p=362
Mission: www.occupywallstwest.org/wordpress/?p=713
Bernal: occupybernal.org/wordpress/?p=238 and occupybernal.org/wordpress/?p=190

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Occupy SF 2012 Kick-Off: A Financial District Occupation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2012

Contact:
Occupy SF Press Team, (415) 937-7759, press@occupywallstwest.org

Occupy San Francisco Announces 2012 Kick-Off: A Planned San Francisco Financial District Occupation

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 10 AM press conference will highlight 99% demands and plans for a day-long direct action protest this Friday called “Occupy Wall Street West”

WHEN: 10-10:30am, Wednesday, January 18

WHERE: 555 California Street, corner of California and Kearny, outside the corporate offices of Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

VISUALS: Giant squid illustrating Goldman Sachs as “vampire squid,” large banners.

WHAT: Activists with Occupy Wall Street West will hold a press conference on Wednesday, January 18 to announce their plans to welcome in the new year with daylong protests and direct actions this Friday to disrupt business as usual for banks and corporations complicit in foreclosures, economic injustice, war profiteering and labor rights violations. With dozens of affinity groups and over 55 organizations targeting specific banks and companies, this is predicted to be the largest street protest of the Financial District since anti-war protests in 2003. The press conference will feature speakers addressing multiple constituencies of the 99% such as students, Iraq veterans, anti-war, anti-corporate personhood and environmental activists, queer and interfaith organizers, workers, home-owners and tenants. Featured speakers include R. Warren Langley, President (ret), Pacific Stock Exchange; and Vivian Richardson, a San Francisco homeowner who faced bank foreclosure (see bios below).

Occupy Wall Street West actions will target Wall St. banks and corporations complicit in attacking Bay Area communities, homes, education environment, livelihood, and democracy. The activists demand that banks stop predatory evictions and foreclosures and an end to corporate personhood; and they aim to continue building and mobilizing a strategic mass movement asserting the people power of the 99% for economic justice and a better world.

The January 20 Occupy Wall St West actions are the culmination of actions in which hundreds of protestors successfully shut down bank branches in the Excelsior, Mission, and Bernal neighborhoods. As part of the national January 20 “Occupy the Courts” day of action protests will include a demonstration against corporate personhood at the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Timed to coincide with the opening of the stock market, Friday’s actions will start at 6am and will finish with a march starting with speakers and a flashmob at Bradley Manning (Justin Herman) Plaza and traveling to 555 California St. for a lively street party.

ADDITIONAL PRESS INFO:

For interview requests and hot action story tips:
Call: (415) 937-7759
Email: press@occupywallstwest.org

For featured news roll, videostreams, and twitter feeds:
See www.occupywallstwest.org and www.occupysf.org

Subscribe to press list to obtain photos and video of the actions: www.occupywallstwest.org/press

Actions are identified on the action map (www.occupywallstwest.org/map) and action list (www.occupywallstwest.org/actions)

Warren Langley served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Pacific Exchange in San Francisco. Prior to that, he was a Principal and Chief Operating Officer of Hull Trading in Chicago and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Vivian Richardson, a San Francisco homeowner faced bank foreclosure of her home with a December 31, 2011 eviction date. After public protest of the bank with neighbors, a community group and Occupy SF last November, her loan was modified and her home saved.

Occupy SF Housing is a coalition which includes OccupySF, SF Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee of SF, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Eviction Defense Collaborative, ACCE, Homes Not Jails, Occupy Bernal, and other community groups and individuals. The coalition came together to stop banks from evicting tenants and homeowners through foreclosures or through their partnerships with real estate speculators.

Occupy SF strives to address and confront the injustices in our society by giving voice to the 99% through direct actions. OSF is simultaneously creating a new culture based on direct democracy, diversity, sustainable communities, and respect for all peoples and the environment.

Over 50 additional organizations are participating in the Occupy Wall Street West Day of Action including: 28th Amendment Group, Ack-Act Theater, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and Racism Coalition), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Asian Law Caucus, Bail Out the People Movement, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, California Nurses Association, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Coalition on Homelessness, Chinese Progressive Association, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Dancing Without Borders, Eviction Defense Collaborative, Filipino Community Center, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Homonomixxx, Housing Rights Committee, International Action Center, Jobs with Justice, La Raza Centro Legal—Day Laborer Program and Women’s Collective, Move to Amend, Move to Amend, Olympia, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, NationofChange, Occupy Bernal, Occupy Berkeley, Occupy MJC (Modesto Junior College), Occupy Oakland, Occupy SF General Assembly and Action Council, Occupy SF Housing Coalition, Occupy SFSU, People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights, People Organized to Win Employment Rights, Pride at Work, Pride at Work/HAVOQ (Horizontal Alliance of Very Organized Queers), Progressive Workers Alliance, QUEEN, Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco for Democracy, San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco Tenants Union, SF 99% Coalition, SF Gray Panthers, SF Interfaith Allies of Occupy, SF-NOW, Workers World Party, Young Workers United.

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200+ Protestors in the Mission Demand Wells Fargo End For-Profit Evictions and Foreclosures

Update: Six protestors on the roof were charged with misdemeanor protest and released after a few hours detainment. Montana was also released, but not until later and may face different charges. One other protestor named Blondie SF was cited and released for “walking illegally”.

More than 200 protestors gathered for a rally in the plaza at Mission St and 16th St in San Francisco this afternoon to demand that Wells Fargo Bank immediately stop for-profit evictions and foreclosures. After hearing from several speakers, the group chanted and carried signs to the nearby Wells Fargo branch. Some protestors managed to scale the roof and hang banners protesting evictions and foreclosures, as well as pitching a tent on the bank’s roof. Police responded by calling the fire department, which drove a large fire truck into the bank branch parking lot and extended the truck’s ladder onto the bank’s roof. After negotiations between police and protestors which involved a dialog with the bank branch manager about setting up a meeting with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, police told protestors they had to leave the roof. Protestors decided to cooperate and police cuffed and arrested at least four protestors.

Protestors marched to the Mission Police Station in solidarity with the arrested protestors, the crowd blocking one lane of traffic on Valencia St. Police unexpectedly arrested at least one more protestor Montana, who plays the drum in the Brass Liberation Orchestra, for an unknown reason (possibly an alleged felony assault on a police officer), leaving two distraught children behind. A friend of the person arrested took care of the children and brought them to the police station downtown to be reunited with the woman who is apparently their mother (hard to confirm the facts for certain). Folks are rallying for her at 12:30pm, Sunday, January 15, 2012, at 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco.

Gradually, most of the protestors left the police station, some to go to the police station downtown in solidarity with those arrested.

Update: more pictures from Krissana.

100+ Protestors Shut Down Four Bank Branches in the Excelsior Triangle

More than a hundred protestors today shut down four bank branches in San Francisco’s Excelsior district to protest bank evictions and foreclosures of home owners and renters in the Excelsior and beyond. One protestor, Craig Rouskey, was arrested for refusing to leave the Bank of America branch as security closed the bank. Thanks to ACCE’s Excelsior group, Occupy SF Housing, and Occupy Wall St West for organizing this action.

Links: Peter Menchini’s pix

[Please feel free to repost and attribute photos below to occupywallstwest.org.]

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