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24 arrested at Bank of America protest

BPD Supt. William Evans made one of the first arrests.BPD Supt. William Evans made one of the first arrests.

The protesters were taken away from the bank's Federal Street building when they attempted a sit-in as a protest against the bank's lending and foreclosure policies.

The six who I saw arrested at the bank's front entrance went peacefully when police asked them to stand and hag plastic restraints put on. The six had taken up position in groups of two at the doors. Boston Police Superintendent William Evans made the first arrest.

Some 1,500 people participated in the protest, organizers of Take Back Boston say.

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Copyright Mystery Pill. Tagged as universalhub on Flickr.

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This fee was actually one of many predicted side effects of passing (even during the debates) the Dodd-Frank bill. It's easy to yell at the banks but what do you expect them to do when their ability to actually not lose money on high risk customers is removed? It's hard to defend the banks, but it's yet another unintended consequence of shortsighted politicians.

http://reason.com/blog/2011/09/30/new-debit-card-f...

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Really? Reason.com is so devoid of any reason, especially when it comes to economics. Free markets are what got us into the Great Depression. Wall Street and the big banks need to be regulated with an iron fist in a titanium glove, with spikes on the knuckles, and poison on the spikes.

The banks are not losing money. They are losing an ability to make too much money. If they're too poor to stomach a reduction in merchant fees you don't then try to pass those fees off to other customers instead.

You suck it up and cut where it won't hurt. Like I am sure their executives could get by with half what they're earning in bonuses and still buy several Mercedes. Maybe they could commute to work on the train instead of riding in livery cars which are lined up on Federal Street every night. Or maybe they could sell their overpriced RE at Federal Street and put their company HQ in someplace where office space is cheap, but still close to transit. New Balance seems to be doing OK in Brighton for instance.

The company I work for has no problem making money even in this economy. We're even hiring. But then our president doesn't have a limo. I think he rents ZipCars.

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Time will tell but I think the issue is that they ARE cutting where it won't hurt, namely low-quality banking customers who don't have high enough balances to have the accounts that aren't going to get the fee. So they will lose someone who keeps maybe a grand in their checking week to week, who used to overdraft once in awhile and get hit with a 30 dollar fee (recently given the automatic opt-out).

You have wealthier individuals who have great credit cards with great rewards who will just put everything on credit and transfer the balance if their accounts aren't exempt from the fee. Or the $5 doesn't phase them anyway, but I happen to think the former would be the more frequent case.

Wells Fargo has tried this in some markets, so clearly its on the table across the country in many big banks. BoA has a really strong ATM network, it has alot of people in its 'free checking' system (free taken with a grain of salt). Finally, the most painful point: most people might threaten to leave, but do they have the time/discipline/drive to follow through? Time will tell. Just my two cents, which is fee'd.

tl;dr - wasn't this protest about mortgages anyway?

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There are plenty of community banks willing to take your business. Oh, but right, you don't like free markets (New Balance, Zipcar wouldn't exist without free markets either). So, you feel you need to stay with BofA? I don't get it. Only countries with free markets have freedom of speech which is what makes this a protest instead of a revolution. If the protest succeeds in moving customers from BofA to other banks, then it is a success.

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Markets are not free; all are regulated. As they should be. The problem lies in that the regulations in this country are either too lax, have too many loopholes, or are not enforced. The regulators often lack the teeth and the will to force compliance. And the companies that need regulation the most have lobbyists who have an endless supply of cash (from the $5 monthly fees it would seem) to pay off Congress.

Do bear in mind there are many companies which comply with regulations (financial and otherwise) and many that do not comply, or try not to. Or try to do away with the regulations.

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BlackKat, you are so sensible. The protests are not about $5/month debit card fees, but the incumbent media continues to ignore the frustration of the 99%. You say it like it is.

They are losing an ability to make too much money.

Young people, educated and many unemployed, will continue to self-organize and take to
the streets. Soon, they will be joined by grandmothers who lost their savings in the financial
crisis that YES was propagated and nicely packaged by unregulated BANKS.

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Yes, Reason is so devoid of reason for being at the forefront of things like
* Ending The War On Drugs
* Ending Eminent Domain Abuse
* Ending The Death Penalty (research Radley Balko and Corey Maye)
* Opposing Corporate Welfare
* Promoting Immigration Reform and Open Borders
* Opposing increasing occupational licensing restrictions
* Opposing Don't Ask Don't Tell

Sure, their economic backround won't gel with the Mother Jones crew, but then again I don't really see the problem with not being on the Bush & Obama train of economics these days considering how miraculously ineffective the two have been. The "consensus" on economic policy has gotten us to 14 trillion in debt and counting, so I will gladly accept opposing viewpoints.

Off topic, but I'm sure the City of Boston would love to lose the jobs and revenue from Bank of America moving out to a cheap suburb. That would do just wonders for an already struggling budget. These are the kind of rash, under-cooked ideas that lead our politicians to create all these messes. Yelling blithly about platitudes like "all banks are evil" is going to get you nowhere.

Financial firms are actually incredibly regulated - one of the only industries that truly has not had any significant deregulation like other industries (such as postage or airlines - which have had great results) besides maybe healthcare. It's incredibly easy to argue George Bush was the highest-regulating president since Lyndon Johnson and now Barack Obama if you actually know what he has done. It is the most amazing myth that people think he deregulated much of anything, or there is any significant difference between his policies and Obama's current policies. The last presidents that did any meaningful deregulation were democrats - Carter and Clinton, by the way.

Additionally, yelling about banks causing the crisis without acknowledging the impact of congress in promoting trillions subprime mortages through Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac (thank you again, Mr. Barney Frank) just sounds unintelligent - like a backwoods Republican who screams "they're stealing our jeorbs!"

If the religion of the right is god and sticking it's nose into our bedroom lives, the religion of the left is regulation and the belief that politicians are "experts" about what they legislate - sticking their noses too far into an impossibly dynamic economy. Every day new laws are made to shape how we can live our lives or MAKE a living. Whether it's throwing people in jail for selling bacon-wrapped hotdogs, requiring an expensive license to shampoo someone's hair, or banning fish pedicures because of the belief it is somehow dangerous. These are only three small examples among an increasingly uncountable amount of ways that regulation does more far harm than good. Sure they might be trivial, but that is the lesson of "a death by a thousand cuts"

Regulation is a blunt instrument. It can certainly be a force for good, but the tighter and more spread it gets the more loopholes and unintended consequences there inevitably are. Economies thrive on simplicity, not exceptions. Collusion and cronyism thrive on thousands of pages of rules that only high paid lawyers can decipher (and are also usually part of writing them to begin with - ie: there's a reason the health insurance industry is overwhelmingly pro Romney and Obama)

You can argue that banks are bad (I would argue they are certainly worth their faults as would I imagine most people) but they are also not all the same. The power of a free market is that other banks will be around to treat you better. The actions of the last two presidents to put the taxpayers on the hook for all the bad decisions of these companies has in the end led to more consolidation in banks, not less, and more difficulties for the industry to diversify.

In other words, its easy to make the argument that a lack of a strong, dynamic, and more open banking industry market is harming us. We have the "iron fist and knuckles" industry already, and it is indeed proving poisonous.

PS: Before you go cursing "free markets" perhaps you should thank them for your ZipCars, before they end up going the path of Taxi Cabs http://reason.com/blog/2011/07/07/reasontv-dc-taxi...

That is, if you can stand another mindless Reason.com article.

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I think you misunderstand that there are two meanings to the phrase "free market". "Free Market" doesn't just meant companies are allowed to operate in open competition to each other. "Free Market" also means companies are allowed to operate without any interference from the government, because competitive forces will keep each other in line. Company A won't cheat because then all the consumers will go to Company B. The problem we have is that both Company A, Company B, Company C, etc etc are ALL cheating. And they do so to some degree in collusion (note the high number of price fixing scandals [not just airlines either], OPEC, etc.).

Frankly this country, if not the world, needs one person to rule with an iron fist. Someone who will force everyone to be liberal or else. I would like to formally submit myself for this role and will henceforth be known as Cobra Commander.
And if you think that sounds crazy, maybe it does. But it is a lot saner than allowing Lloyd Blankenfein to rule you.

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I'll agree with Jeff B. in one respect - that the notion that more than 10% of legislators know more than what is reported to them in a single memo about the topic on which they are legislating is laughably naive.

If that were the worst of it, we might be okay, but what I find more disconcerting is the fact that legislators have consciously abdicated their responsibility and ceded it to the courts, and most of all, to the administrative agencies. And while the people in the administrative agencies know a lot more about the areas in which they regulate, they are far too insulated from the consequences of their regulations.

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The politicians that voted for this bill/law "WERE NOT SHORTSIGHTED"
That should be obvious.

I'm not a BANKER, but, Banks shouldn't be FORCED by law makers/politicians to "lose money on high risk customers", or TAKE OVER MERRILL LYNCH AND ALL OF THEIR PROBLEMS.

Don't forget: "THE 1st, 2nd, 3rd,...... PRIORITY OF A POLITICIAN AFTER THEY ARE ELECTED IS,............GETTING REELECTED..............".

WHAT A SHAME...........

AND MANY CITIZENS VOTED FOR THESE POLITICIANS.

REGARDS

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Awww. Didn't know you were there added a bunch of photos to the flickr group. Oh well. Hope you had fun. Always love some theater.

-Mystery Pill

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Some 1,500 people participated in the protest, organizers say.

So about 150?

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900-1000

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At the Dewey Square site, anyway. I was there at 6:00 to see how I could help and there were just a bunch of people standing around. Some had drums, some had signs, but mostly people had a look of disappointment that what had been billed as a big movement was just another venue for that old guy with the hat to hand out fliers criticizing Israel. No one seemed to be organizing it. If 1500 people had shown up, it really would have been something. It wasn't.

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True but the protest had moved locations by that time to JFK/UMass area. I was disappointed as well but during the main part it seemed semi cohesive and with ok numbers.

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I passed by after work as the B of A protesters were marching down to the Occupy Boston site (Dewey Square). Definitely a load of people, maybe 1500 maybe a few hundred less, but definitely at or above 1,000.

That's not to say that this was all Occupy Boston (the folks who met on the Common earlier this week). Right to the City was the network that organized the Bank protest. They're having their annual meet-up here, so there were groups from L.A. New York and other locales. They also had other activities programmed for the evening, so I think many of them walked over to Dewey Square and promptly got on a train for UMass for further pow-wows. And of course there was the usual swirl of people just passing through who paused for a moment and moved on.

If the Occupy Boston thing had happened completely on its own I imagine it would be far fewer peeps. It was just coincidence as the Right to the City thing was planned months in advance (by local groups like Vida Urbana, whose whole deal lately has been fighting foreclosure evictions by corporate scumbags like BoA). And that action is also linked to MassUniting and SEIU, so there is capacity to mobilize folks (and not just young white ones). Put it all together with decent weather on a Friday afternoon and 1,500 seems reasonable.

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It's still not clear to me what these pinheads want or why they're so down on BoA.

It's not like BoA wanted to have to take a bailout, or even buy Merrill Lynch and Countrywide -- the Fed strongarmed them into it by threatening to replace the board of directors with one that would approve the merger anyway. Fire the politicians who help made that happen -- the people who put Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner, etc in charge. I hear there's an election coming up.

Are these people upset that BoA decided to charge fees for debit card usage? It's a free market -- leave them and join a credit union. Mine doesn't charge fees for less than 5 debit card purchases a month and reimburses for foreign ATM fees.

I'm beginning to strongly suspect that these people just like being manhandled by police because their parents didn't discipline them enough as children.

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I notice there are certain recognizable people that show up for events of this nature no matter what the cause is. Some of whom can occasionaly be seen protesting all and sundry on the Boston Common on a regular basis. "Professional protesters" of a sort. It is hard to take such people seriously if they will simply indiscriminately "protest" ANYTHING. I feel it is important to have a social conscience, but there seems to be no real depth to the 'professional protesters".

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Some of the professional protesters are, indeed, weirdos. I wouldn't necessarily think of them as without depth though. The guy with the hat and the bike who seems to have the personal vendetta against Israel's foreign policy is not someone you'd want dating your daughter, but I think he really does feel strongly about the causes he cares about. Maybe he's got too much depth, I dunno. But I'm not sure how many of them protest indiscriminately. They may be "professionals" but that doesn't mean they're making money doing this. They do it because they believe it. And for the progressives and left wingers, protesting is the thing you do. I think the Tea Party made such a big splash because it was the first time that conservatives really got out there and did something similar. First time since Klan rallies.

I mean there are people who paint their naked bodies and sit out in the cold with a bunch of other people screaming their lungs out watching a football game... and they pay a lot of money to do so. To each their own. As long as you don't get stuck in close quarters with them, it can be tolerated.

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Full card - what's the prize?

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Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.

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there were two actions today in Boston by two different networks ... the Right to the City March and Protest at the Bank of America building, followed by the 4th General Assembly of the #OccupyBoston movement and the start of their encampment at Dewey Square - there is some overlap between the events, but the first was run by established community organizations and the second was run by an entirely new group - most of whom are brand new to street politics (contra some of the ill-informed opinions above) - if you want to keep up with the latest on all this, check us out at Open Media Boston - we'll have stories on today's actions up by tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner ...

http://www.openmediaboston.org
http://storyful.com/openmediaboston/1000008495

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And worse, there's confusion that these protests are in response to a $5 debit card usage fee. Then there's the perception that this is more a "Whose Foods" type of action that's one part idealistic, confused spoiled youth looking to feel important and equal part cynical "poverty pimps" looking to line their pockets or move their "brand" forward. If that's someone's idea then I suspect there is little to do to change their opinion. I'm just glad that someone is doing something, regardless of how initially chaotic and undirected it may appear. If a week from now all that's left is some dead grass patches and a few disturbing the peace and trespassing charges, well, I know I'll be bummed out. If it degrades into a get out the vote push for Obama and the Democrats I might just move out of the country.

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200 to 300 protesters just marched down Atlantic ave past my building- chanting stuff I didn't catch from my window. Went down street level and they were already passing India Wharf continuing on to Purchase Street. Were chanting "The people- united- will never be defeated" when I got within earshot. Crowd was mostly young (20's) from what I saw- and not particularly outlandish- sorta par for the course fashion wise for that age group. Cops in tow following behind and guiding traffic around them.

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Bloomberg is reporting attendance at the demonstration at Bank of America's Federal Street offices as 3,000. There were at least 1,500 people there, absolute minimum. There were two dozen arrests, some of individuals who'd locked arms at the doors, a couple of people inside the building. All were arrested for non-violent charges like trespassing - no property damage either. None looked like dope-smoking hippies or welfare cases.

The crowd was a very broad cross-section of the Greater Boston area, all races, ages, and income brackets. There were hippies, of course, but there were old white dudes wearing Gadsden flag t-shirts and young black guys in suits. Reports that this was just another hippie drum circle are either intentionally skewed or are based on skewed second-hand accounts. That's not what the crowd looked like or acted like at all.

The action was generally well-organized, especially up to the arrival and action at BoA, and nobody - nobody - even mentioned debit card fees once, though a lot of media insist on mentioning this issue. This protest was about foreclosure and mortgage lending practices and what's perceived as rampant corporate greed.

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You're right - it was about foreclosure and it was all planned out long before BoA announced the debit-card fee (which was, what, Thursday?).

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I assume this person was taking part. We from an observe I can say that yes the 1,500 number is a good estimate but I would not say the crowd was as diverse as one would hope. The majority were white college kids. The reason occupy boston isn't creating the american arab spring is because there everybody joined together. Here its just the usual players.

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and while the 1500 people were protesting 6000 were at the Harpoon Brewery having a great time

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This isn't true. I was there and can say with the utmost certainty that this was *not* the "usual suspects" for a demonstration in Boston. There were lots and lots of everybody there. At one point, I even had to stop and look around for a college-aged kid. Dismiss it if you'd like, and pat yourself on the back for being a-political (as a few commenters have done), but the truth is, this was a very diverse, very large crowd. These facts are not insignificant.

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Although I think the protests are for a good reason (you're frustrated and you want your voice heard) there are ways of protesting that don't fit the mold and that make more of an impact. If you go in there yelling or effect the way they run their everyday business, you're just going to get kicked out. however, if people find a local bank or a credit union to move their money, it would be more effective. If a couple hundred people line up outside of a large branch in a calm and collected manner (no signs, no yelling - hell, wear your business suits) and each individual closes their account for the same reason it will make a statement and it will hit them where it hurts. They don't care about you, they care about your money. Your sob stories will not make a difference. We can organize, we just need to make a clear statement.

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