Video shot around the ‘net this weekend of a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters at a New York City Citibank who were arrested after they entered the bank with placards, began holding an open forum inside the bank where they talked about how they were saddled with debt, and then tried to close their accounts. At one point a woman wearing a suit is forcibly arrested after telling the police several times, “I’m a customer.”
In a statement, Citibank said, “A large number of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.”
Looks like it’s another one of those cases where the bank says you can’t be both a protester and a customer at the same time. While you have the right to public assembly in a public place, the same doesn’t hold true for a private business. It seems that as a tactical approach, the protesters are going to keep seeking non-violent ways to draw a circle around those who have the authority and those who don’t as a way to keep the interest high, and keep generating viral video footage.
The first video is the popular one showing the woman being arrested. The second one hasn’t gotten as many views and is of the speeches the protesters were making inside the bank before they were locked inside and arrested.
(Thanks to Mark!)