Thousands of people turned out for a protest on Wall Street Thursday to denounce the taxpayer-funded bailout and the role of large financial firms in the nation’s economic crisis. A coalition of union and community groups organized the march as the Senate opened debate on a measure to overhaul financial regulation. [includes rush transcript]
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AMY GOODMAN: In New York, thousands of workers and union leaders marched on Wall Street Thursday to express their outrage over the recession, predatory lending practices and the federal response to the crisis. Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan was on the scene and filed this report for Democracy Now!
BRANDON JOURDAN: Approximately 10,000 people marched to Wall Street in protest of job losses, home foreclosures, questionable lending practices, and the tax-funded bailout of financial institutions. Before the announced rally, over 100 protesters disrupted the lobbies of two bank offices. Demonstrators entered the JPMorgan Chase office on Park Avenue.
PROTEST SPEAKER: JPMorgan Chase helped cause the Great Recession in many ways, including in issuing over $295.3 billion in subprime loans from 2005 to 2007 through direct organization and investments.
BRANDON JOURDAN: The group then proceeded to the Seagram Building, which houses the offices of Wells Fargo and Wachovia.
PROTEST SPEAKER: Wells Fargo helped cause the Great Recession in many ways, including organizing or cost issuing $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans.
JOSEPH FERDINAND: We tried, you know, email, snail mail, phone calls, and it’s as though we didn’t exist. So, we took it up a notch, and we came to them.
BRANDON JOURDAN: At 4:00 p.m., as Wall Street’s closing bell sounded, thousands of workers rallied at City Hall in downtown Manhattan.
JACK AHERN: Americans are left counting pennies, while the bankers are counting billions. And that just ain’t right.
BRANDON JOURDAN: Following an hour rally, the crowd marched down Broadway past Wall Street to Bowling Green.
PROTESTERS: You got bailed out! We got sold out! You got bailed out! We got sold out!
REV. LISA ROBINSON: As I talk to you, I have been served with foreclosure papers. So I’m here demanding that something be done. They came to the little people to be bailed out. Now it’s time for Wall Street to step up and do something for the people to help us maintain what we have. The main message is, stop predatory lending. We need jobs. Stop these astronomical interest rates. And help the people that got you where you are today.
PROTESTER: We’re down here to let the banks know that we’re tired of their mess.
BRANDON JOURDAN: The rally was organized by a large coalition including National People’s Action, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, MoveOn.org and several community groups.