Banks Get Off Easy During DNC
Charlotte's banks expected to be a major target for protests during the DNC, but they haven't been.
Six-foot high fencing went up Saturday night around Bank of America's high rise and Wells Fargo's main office too. An army of private security officers arrived around the same time to stand guard, silently.
"Unfortunately m'am, I can make no comment, nor can any of the officers," says one guard when asked about his role.
Nor are the banks saying whether they stepped up security on their own or were instructed to by law enforcement.
Clearly they anticipated being the target of angry protests and possibly event vandals. They needn't have worried.
"They expected tens of thousands of protesters, and we got a few hundred, you know?," says Billy Lolos, an Occupy Wall Street protester who spent a week at the RNC in Tampa before coming to Charlotte.
Banks are a target of Occupy, but not the only one, he says.
"There's so many issues it's a web," says Lolos. All these things are just threads in the web. I still ain't figured out who the spider is. It might be capitalism gone wild."
Most of the marches through Uptown this week have at least included a few chants aimed at Bank of America.
"Justice for all home owners! Make BofA pay!" chanted a small crowd gathered at noon today at Trade and Tryon.
It was the first activist press conference during the DNC aimed specifically at the bank. Action NC director Pat McCoy says the heightened security has made it difficult to feel effective.
Action NC's approach this week was to use media attention on a local family at risk of foreclosure to put pressure on the bank. A barbecue at the family's home on Monday night ended up in the paper and McCoy says Bank of America has since started returning calls from loan counselors working on the case.