About 50 protesters holding signs and chanting "Make banks pay" briefly took over the lobby of a Bank of America branch in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday night, calling for greater accountability. They were part of a march of about a thousand people demanding that financial corporations help resolve the state’s budget problems.
Several of the protesters pitched tents in the building's lobby Wednesday afternoon before security officers managed to block off the entrance. Others pitched tents in the building's courtyard.
Organizer Amy Schur said they told officials they were not going to leave "until you fax our demand letter to BOA — Bank of America — board member Monica Lozano. She’s here in L.A. and we need her to champion our demands to make big banks and big corporations pay their fair share to get us out of this mess in California.”
Schur says protesters were successful. An employee faxed the letter and showed demonstrators a transmission receipt. Protesters considered that a small victory in their ongoing fight to get banks to pay more in taxes to prevent further cuts affecting education, health care, senior citizens, students, families and the poor.
Outside the bank, the crowd chanted, carried picket signs and blew whistles as LAPD officers watched. Demonstrators included labor union organizers, activists, Occupy L.A. members and college students.
The demonstrators marched several blocks to the building on Hope Street from the heart of the city's financial district.
Several held banners reading "Jobs Not Cuts," "United for Change" and "We are the 99 percent."
A large contingent of police officers was on the scene, but the protest was peaceful and there were no arrests.
This story has been updated.