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SF economic protests focus on foreclosures
San Francisco coalition of labor, students, faith groups and anti-corporate activists rally to "Make Banks Pay."
By Christopher D. Cook
SF Public Press
— Sep 30 2011 - 12:14pm
As “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations entered their 12th day in New York and economic justice rallies spread across the country, several hundred San Franciscans took to the streets Thursday to “make the banks pay,” as the protests signs put it. Snaking through the Financial District, the crowd rallied outside the offices of Goldman Sachs, CitiBank, Charles Schwab and then Chase Bank, where six demonstrators sat in and were arrested.
The protesters, a coalition of labor, student and faith-based groups, presented a set of demands focused on stemming the home foreclosure crisis, repairing neighborhoods hit hard by evictions and closing loopholes in property tax laws. Estimates of the crowd ranged from a few hundred to more than 1,000.
Insisting that banks “re-fund California” for damages from the foreclosure crisis, a statement by the coalition urged that banks “enact a widespread principal reduction program as a core component of a strong loan modification program that will help stabilize communities and keep families in their homes.”
Citing estimates that each foreclosure costs $34,000 and adds “potential blight” to neighborhoods, the group demanded that banks “maintain and pay the fines on your blighted properties and help share in the cost to our cities and counties.”
After the six protesters were released at about 5:30 p.m., the march continued through the Financial District.
Thursday's demonstration was part of a week-long series of protests in the Bay Area focused on banks' role in the home foreclosure crisis, and part of a growing number of nationwide protests echoing the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Christopher D. Cook is an author and award-winning investigative journalist who has written for the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, The Economist, Mother Jones, The Christian Science Monitor, and other national publications. He is the author of the 2004 book “Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis” (New Press), and is a former city editor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has also worked as a reporter for The Oakland Tribune and United Press International. His Web site is http://www.christopherdcook.com.