Banks protesters block San Francisco Wells Fargo world headquarters

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A group of ‘Occupy SF’ protesters were arrested early Wednesday after they blocked the entrances to the Wells Fargo’s world headquarters in San Francisco’s Financial District.

About a dozen protesters were blocking the doors and one by one were being arrested and removed by San Francisco police officers.

The arrests capped a march by several hundred ‘Occupy SF’ protesters through the financial district, disrupting rush-hour traffic. The protest began with a rally – addressed by several speakers including San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, who is running for mayor.

“We are standing for a better world…Together we will win because we are not going to stop,” Avalos implored the crowd.

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Banks protester holds up a sign. People across the country, including in San Francisco,
have joined the protest

They then began a march through the financial district. The march was organized by a number of groups including Causa Justa Just Cause, Unite Here Local 2850, the California Partnership, Young Workers United and the Chinese Progressive Association.

Meanwhile, another group of protesters locked arms and blocked the entrance to the Wells Fargo building awaiting the arrival of the marchers.

The San Francisco demonstration was just one of many around the country targeting the nation’s financial institutions. Across the Bay, “Occupy Oakland” demonstrators were camped out on Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Dozens of tents dotted the lawn, and according to Lolo Schiener, an unemployed 27-year-old Berkeley resident with a master’s degree in speech pathology, the group has been receiving a steady stream of donations that will allow them to continue occupying the plaza.

“We have a lot of food,” she said. “A lot of people have been donating food and money.”

The group has also been giving food to the homeless and those who ask for it.

Elsewhere, the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spawned grass-roots activities around the U.S. and prompted comments from President Barack Obama, is now drawing political remarks from overseas.

Iran’s top leader said Wednesday that the wave of protests reflects a serious crisis that will ultimately topple capitalism in America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the United States is now in a full-blown crisis because its “corrupt foundation has been exposed to the American people.”

The remarks came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration plans to leverage charges that Iran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador into a new global campaign to isolate the Islamic republic.

For the past 3 1/2 weeks, the economic protesters have besieged a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street. A march on Tuesday, past the homes of wealthy residents, marked the first time the movement has singled out individuals as part of the 1 percent they say are getting rich at the expense of the rest of America.

More activities were planned Wednesday. In Ohio, the group Occupy Cincinnati was staging a march.

Protesters in New York planned to gather at the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase, where they’ll continue to decry the expiration of the state’s 2 percent “millionaires’ tax” in December.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for a woman pepper sprayed during an action last month is demanding that the Manhattan district attorney prosecute an NYPD deputy inspector on an assault charge. Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the matter is being investigated by police internal affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Despite the onset of cold weather, protesters have indicated they’re in it for the long haul.

Occupy Seattle demonstrators sent the mayor a list of demands, including approval for large tents to be used as a kitchen, infirmary, storage area and information center — and written approval of long-term occupancy.

In Washington, six people were arrested Tuesday for demonstrating inside a Senate office building. More than 125 protesters in Boston were arrested after they ignored warnings to move from a downtown green space, police said.

The New York state comptroller has issued a report showing that Wall Street is again losing jobs because of global economic woes. The job losses threaten tax revenue for a city and state heavily reliant on the financial industry.

The industry shed 4,100 jobs in the late spring and summer and could lose nearly 10,000 more by the end of 2012, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. That would bring the total industry loss to 32,000 positions since the financial meltdown of 2008.

The sector employed 166,600 people in investment banks, securities trading firms and hedge funds as of August.

Christopher Guerra, an artist and Occupy Wall Street protester from Newark, N.J., said the job losses aid the protesters’ cause.

“That means more people on our side,” Guerra said. “The companies are destroying this country by helping themselves, not the people, and pushing jobs out of America. If they get shafted, they will realize that what we are saying is true.”

See Related: American Distrust of Banks


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