Published on October 19th, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom8
OWS: Disruptive Citibank protester was undercover cop
Well, we now have more information about the foolish but well-meaning action by Occupy Wall Street at that Citibank branch in New York.
According to one demonstrator, they were all Citibank customers who intended to close their accounts except for one journalist and three others, Chase customers who went with the Citi group for moral support. All of them were arrested (See: DON’T close your Citibank account today. They’re arresting people.)
- Oct 20: Another protest, this one in DC. See: New action at Citibank to protest record profits (with video)
- It turns out there was another action at about the same time, this one at a Chase bank branch. Guess how that one went down? See: Citibank was stupid, Chase was smart)
- Video backs up occupiers story. See: New video: Inside Citibank as guards prevent Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from leaving.
The third is by Anindya Bhattacharyya, an actual socialist from Britain (where socialists aren’t an actual endangered species, as they are here in the US), wast here as a reporter (for a publication suspiciously titled “The Socialist Worker“). He had gone along to report on the action at Citibank and was swept up with everyone else.
Here are his tweets, live from the scene:
in a branch of citibank now with a couple of dozen
#ows supporters protesting against student debt.
police have arrived. they’re not letting us out. no warning given.
angry scenes outside the bank between protesters and police. we’re being held inside and threatened with arrest.
this is pretty surreal.
okay we’re all being arrested now. might be the last tweet you’ll g
et from me for a while
After being released Sunday night, Bhattacharyya resumed tweeting, and posted a couple of stories to his Euro-publication (which of course you shouldn’t trust because it has the word “socialist” in the name). He describes how the demonstrators talked about how unfair the student loan process was, and:
The protesters were entirely respectful towards bank staff and customers. We were asked to leave at one point, but nobody said anything about arrests or police. Then, out of the blue, the bank doors were locked. Police arrived to cuff and arrest the lot of us.
One woman protester had closed her Citibank account as part of the protest and had left the building. She and her partner were rounded up by police outside the bank and bundled back in.
They had been spotted by an undercover police officer who had been with us inside posing as a protester. The police had been intending to arrest us all along.
Carroll’s tale is similar, although she says she thinks there were several account closings. Here’s what she says happened:
During this second speech we were asked to leave by management, but chose to keep on talking. We were not shouting or moving about at all–we were in a loosely formed circle in the center of the bank lobby. Another one or two people spoke briefly. As they spoke the doorway was slowly being filled with buff men in polo shirts. Our talk was slowing down and coming to a close. We had been inside probably between 10 and 20 minutes total when suddenly we heard “doors are being locked now!” from one of the men who’d been standing in the doorway.
We walked over to the front doors and were met by many cops. At least 6 were inside with us. “We would like to leave ” we said. “It’s too late” the cops said back. A woman in her 70s (who I later befriended while waiting at central booking) asked to leave again and moved forward. She was pushed back forcefully by one of the cops in the doorway. She did not react. Everyone remained calm. “You are all under arrest,” said a whiteshirt. These cops were mean…
So this was not like the demonstrators in other places, sitting down in the streets or blocking police access to tents, who know their actions are going to get them arrested, but do it anyway. These kids thought they would stage a little educational seminar for 10 minutes or so and then move on. And they were shocked when it all went bad.
Next page >> The “protester” who was a cop
More on action against the banks
More on Occupy Wall Street
- Hawaiian singer Makana Occupies President Obama’s state dinner
- Bill Moyers: How the 1970s backlash against the environmental movement morphed into today’s class war
- Will winter weather stop Occupy Wall Street?
- Bill Maher skewers right-wing idiots who hate Occupy Wall Street
- Calvin and Hobbes explain OWS
- Why are they lying about OWS – and why are they getting away with it?
- Why we occupy: The Story of Citizens United – Why Democracy Only Works When People Are In Charge