By B.J. Murphy
November 8, 2011
Charlotte, NC – An energetic crowd of almost 300 came together at Marshall Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 5. Protesters marched to Bank of America and Wells Fargo, as Occupy Winston-Salem joined in solidarity with Occupy Charlotte in support of Bank Transfer Day.
The protest urged people to transfer their money from big corporate, for-profit banks to local non-profit banks. Local protesters also held signs against the U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan and the Middle East and in support of public education and teachers. As the activists made their way between Wells Fargo and Bank of America, a dozen police officers met them outside Wells Fargo Bank.
The protest built upon the mass opposition to big banks introducing ‘account fees’ in the last few months and the growing awareness of these very same banks’ hand in the economic financial crisis since 2008. Everyone cheered the news that 650,000 people transferred their money from Bank of America to non-profit credit unions as a result of the Bank Transfer Day effort by Occupy Wall Street. It is estimated that there is a loss of $4.5 billion for the 1% and a gain for the 99%.
Ghali Hasan of Occupy Winston-Salem stated, “Today was a great day for Occupy Winston-Salem, coming down and joining forces with Occupy Charlotte to show real solidarity to the cause. And I believe, overall, we’re going to be making a difference in Winston-Salem and the state as a whole, with today being proof of that.”
At Bank of America and Wells Fargo, chants were heard many blocks away in every direction, ranging from “Stop the wars and corporate greed! Give the people what they need!” and “Money for books and education, not for banks and corporations!” When the bosses and managers at Wells Fargo started staring out their glass door and windows, everyone pointed towards them and chanted, “Tell me what hypocrisy looks like. This is what hypocrisy looks like!”
After the two-hour event ended, everyone marched back to Marshall Park and held a General Assembly. When asked of the possible eviction from the park by police, Yen, an activist in Occupy Charlotte responded, “I believe, like every other Occupy movement throughout the nation, the powers that be are starting to see the true essence of this movement; the true power that it can have. So they’re now beginning to threaten those who participate in true democracy. Whatever may happen, nothing will stop this occupation.”