In solidarity with Occupy movements nationwide, about 70 Occupy Providence protesters marched Saturday to support the closing of Bank of America accounts. The march coincided with National Bank Transfer Day, when Occupiers across the country staged actions to encourage people to withdraw their money from big banks and deposit it in local banks and credit unions.
The protesters gathered at 10 a.m. at Burnside Park, where Occupiers have been staying since Oct. 15, to march to Bank of America's office on Federal Hill.
Mark Doe, who marched with the group, said he opposes Bank of America due to its "shady business" of influencing politicians through campaign contributions. Javier Gonzalez, who also marched, said Occupiers would welcome the demise of Bank of America, though he said they hope in the short term that the bank will work with homeowners to prevent foreclosures.
Closing a Bank of America account amounts to "closing down excessively greedy corporations," said Annie Rose London '11.5, adding that big banks prioritize profits over the well-being of ordinary people.
Before the rally began, two female marchers briefly explained the day's importance. They argued that Americans should stop supporting banks that evict people and fund companies that degrade the environment. Chanting "Bank of America — bad for America," marchers departed Burnside Park carrying signs featuring slogans like "Stop Foreclosure, Stop Eviction" and "Too Rich for Rules."
As the group reached the Bank of America office on Federal Hill, Lindsay Goss GS shared her reasons for closing her account. She said the bank illegally foreclosed homes, despite receiving bailout money from taxpayers and awarding CEO Brian Moynihan '81 P'14 a generous bonus. Moynihan is a trustee of the Corporation, the University's highest governing body.
A security guard stopped marchers at the door to the bank's office and limited entry to one to two protesters at a time while other customers entered freely. About 10 Occupiers closed their accounts after entering.
Police were on hand during the march and account closings, which lasted roughly an hour. Lt. John Ryan said police were there to ensure roads were not blocked and added that police generally found protesters to be very cooperative.