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Occupy protesters picket big banks downtown

  • Jasmine de la Torre sits down in the lobby of Wells Fargo Bank on B Street in Santa Rosa, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011 after demonstrating most the morning with Occupy Santa Rosa in front of downtown Santa Rosa banks. De la Torre was arrested by Santa Rosa police several minutes later. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

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.

Occupy Santa Rosa Bank Arrests

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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Transfer Day began as a separate protest to a proposed hike in Bank of America's debit card fees, an increase since rescinded.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.


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