Video: East Village and L.E.S. Protesters Target Midtown Bank

More than 100 people organized by Good Old Lower East Side, the Cooper Square Committee and other local groups rode to midtown in school buses this afternoon to protest Bank of America.

After pouring into the lobby of the bank’s branch at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, the protesters – many of whom were residents of low-income and public housing buildings in the East Village and Lower East Side – chanted “banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” and “Bank of America, bad for America” as security guards and police officers told them to disperse.

Protesters handed out a “charge sheet” accusing the bank – a popular target of such demonstrations – and its co-chief operating officer Thomas K. Montag of various “counts” of “lobbying against consumer-friendly bills,” “misuse of public funds,” and “discrimination and predatory practices.” A cheer of approval went up as a letter written to Mr. Montag was accepted at the front desk. As additional police officers entered the lobby, chants of “police need a raise” resounded even as officers began escorting demonstrators out of the building.

After about 10 minutes inside the lobby, the crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk in front of the building and continued demonstrating for almost an hour, eventually dispersing a little before 5 p.m.

Michael Levitin, co-editor of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, was on hand to watch the event, which was part of a national “99% Power” campaign aimed at demanding that corporations pay their share of taxes and stay out of politics. “I’d say that today actually marks a more significant step than maybe people realize,” he said. “This was not an Occupy crowd, this was an American crowd.”

Watch The Local’s video to see footage from inside the lobby and hear what local residents said about the protest.