Occupy Santa Rosa protestors on Saturday picketed four national banks downtown, leading to three arrests, and joined forces with a national movement urging consumers to transfer their money to community banks and credit unions.
The demonstrations, timed with the national Bank Transfer Day, gave protesters the chance not only to denounce corporate greed, but also to call for doing business with local companies.
It was the fourth Saturday that Occupy Santa Rosa demonstrators have rallied in downtown Santa Rosa since starting their occupation outside City Hall, and the first time that protestors were taken into custody as part of the weekly marches.
The arrests of three demonstrators prompted the closing of the Wells Fargo branch at Third and B Streets about 12:40 p.m. The three were booked into Sonoma County Jail and were being held on suspicion of trespassing and disturbing the peace.
Citibank, next door to Wells Fargo on B Street, shut its doors about the same time, ahead of its scheduled 2 p.m. closing time.
The Occupy movement in Santa Rosa and other communities around the nation has directed frustration at the disproportionate power and wealth of the nation's elite, what the protesters call the 1 percent.
Saturday's Bank Transfer Day began as a separate protest to a proposed hike in Bank of America's debit card fees, an increase since rescinded.
But it recently has been heralded both by Occupy groups and credit unions as an effective stategy to wield economic power for social change.
Demonstrators chanted "Luther Burbank, not Wells Fargo,"in front of Wells Fargo at Third and B Streets. Luther Burbank Savings is the largest locally based financial institution in Sonoma County.
A typical sign read "Move Your Money." Others spelled out support specifically for Redwood and Community First credit unions, two local institutions.
Two representatives of the GoLocal Sonoma County business group spoke at a morning rally at City Hall next to Occupy's small tent city. Demonstrators later marched to Old Courthouse Square and formed into groups to disperse to nearby branches of the nation's four largest banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Chase.
Picket lines were set up near each bank's front doors, but customers were still allowed to enter the businesses. Santa Rosa police officers monitored the demonstrations.
At Bank of America, Occupy supporter Jaime Delgado, 28, said he had closed his account that morning and planned to move his money to Exchange Bank. He's back at Santa Rosa Junior College planning to study film, and he still remembers receiving a Doyle Scholarship as a student there years earlier. Exchange Bank sponsors the long-standing scholarship, which was halted in 2008 after the bank suspended its dividend, the sole source of financing the awards. The bank has said it hopes to reinstate the scholarship when profits allow it to do so.
"I just feel they'll do better with our money," Delgado said of Exchange Bank.
Noland said police officers had received 19 calls seeking assistance in connection with Saturday's Occupy demonstrations.
Arrested at Wells Fargo on suspicion of disturbing the peace, trespassing and resisting arrest was Jasmine De La Torre, 18, of Healdsburg. Bail was set at $2,500.
Arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace, wearing a mask during the commission of a crime, resisting or interfering with a police officer and felony violation of probation was Corey James Lynch, 23, of Santa Rosa. He was held without bail.