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Bank of America targeted for protests at political conventions

August 29, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard
  • Police on Sunday order a protester to move from Bank of America Plaza in Tampa, Fla., the city where the Republican National Convention is being held.
Police on Sunday order a protester to move from Bank of America Plaza in Tampa,… (Todd Sumlin / Charlotte…)

"Occupy"-style protesters will have both political and corporate targets at hand next week when the Democratic National Convention is held in Charlotte, N.C, Bank of America Corp.'s hometown.

A group organized under the March on Wall Street South banner planned to demonstrate beginning Sunday at BofA's headquarters and at Wells Fargo & Co.'s regional headquarters in Charlotte.

Protests also were planned at the Charlotte headquarters of Duke Energy Corp. Environmental protesters have targeted Duke because of its reliance on coal-powered generators.

The environmentalists also have criticized BofA for funding companies that produce and burn coal. The Rainforest Action Network hung an enormous "Bank of Coal" banner on Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, a week before the bank's annual meeting in May.

"People who have been directly impacted by these banks and corporations — who are having their homes foreclosed, who have thousands of dollars of student loan debt, who are having their communities destroyed by dirty energy practices, and whose communities are targeted by the prison industrial complex — will speak out and put the banks on trial,” organizer Yen Alcala said in a news release. 

Banks have proved a major target for protesters from the Occupy movement and other causes. Wells Fargo & Co.'s annual meeting in April was disrupted by demonstrators in the streets of San Francisco and inside the meeting itself.

Demonstrators arrived this weekend in Tampa, Fla., as Republicans gathered for their convention.

Dozens of officers using bicycles as shields faced off Sunday in front of a BofA building with chanting protesters who scribbled slogans on walls and sidewalks. One carried a sign that read: "You stole our money; we want it back."

Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, was demonstrating in Tampa this week with plans to move on to Sunday’s March on Wall Street South in Charlotte.

“Charlotte ... is the banking and financial center of the country after Wall Street,” Flounders told the Charlotte Observer.  “That’s where the policies are set.”

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