Occupy Protesters Ousted From Parks Vow to Regroup
As mayors in at least two cities shut down areas that were being used to protest, Occupy organizers have said the moves will not deter their efforts.
Police fired rubber bullets and hurled tear gas Oct. 25 at protestors at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, Calif. Several were injured and many were arrested. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said police presence would continue around the plaza as protestors vowed to double their numbers and keep the Occupy movement going.
In Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed revoked his executive order that would have allowed Occupy protestors to remain in Woodruff Park until at least Nov. 7. Police forced inhabitants there to leave and placed barricades around the perimeter of the park. More than 50 people were arrested. Protestors have said they will move to another location within the city.
Despite the shutdowns, Occupy organizers said their numbers continue to grow worldwide. London was among the latest international cities to build a following.
Meanwhile, some credit unions are seeing a positive impact behind the Occupy movement. Protestors are among those urging frustrated bank customers to move their business to the cooperatives.
The $535 million UVA Community Credit Union in Charlottesville, Va., said it has experienced an uptick in new members since Bank Transfer Day was announced a few weeks back. The $516 million Rogue Federal Credit Union in Medford, Ore., told media outlets that the demonstrations have helped to add 1,000 new accounts between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15. Protestors there have urged the community to transfer their accounts from JPMorgan Chase to area credit unions.
According to Occupy Austin, local protestors have pulled $162,000 out of national banks and transferred funds to area nearby credit unions, Austin Your News Now reported Oct. 21. The $566 million Velocity Credit Union in Austin, Texas, produced a commercial with the line, “You don’t have to Occupy Wall Street to send a message.” At least one protestor said corporations should not be using the Occupy movement as a financial benefit to their bottom lines.
One Occupy Philadelphia protestor has urged others to make the move to credit unions. The Philadelphia Weekly recently interviewed Christian, who did not want to give his last name. “They’re more invested in the local community,” and [they] only give out loans that are going to succeed, whereas the larger banks, they don’t care if you succeed,” he told the publication.
CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist Dave Colby said the Bank of America $5 monthly fee for debit card use “may be the catalyst for the pull yourself up by your own bootstraps recovery.”
“To the consumer, it's not the $5 per month, it's about principle, the unilateral decision to start charging to use your own money,” Colby said. “To credit unions it may seem like an opportunity to highlight the credit union difference. But if done right, it could be the beginning of the great recovery.”
Colby said bringing deposits over is the first step.
“Sure, bring your checking account business and save some fees, but bring your loans as well and really save. Experience the full credit union difference. It's not about $5, it’s not about credit unions growing deposit share, it’s about individuals and households improving cash flow, the first step to creating stability and leading to an economic recovery.”