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On October 7, just past noon, four activists chained themselves to the front entrance of the Citi branch in Harvard Square, Cambridge. The action started as a protest in front of the Bank of America branch a block away before marching down the street to Citibank, where the four activists had already chained themselves to the front door, closing the bank for a period of time. Over 150 people attended the protest, while many more onlookers gathered in Harvard Square.
The action, using the tag-line “Not With Our Money” was intended to raise awareness of the connections between the current financial crisis and the impending climate crisis. Both Bank of America and Citi Bank are responsible for funding dirty coal power that harms the environment, and engaging in predatory lending practices that are fueling the foreclosure crisis and have left families in Boston homeless.
Several groups were involved with the protest including Rising Tide Boston and Rainforest Action Network, both environmental justice groups, and City Life/Vida Urbana, a tenants’ rights organization.
“Bank of America’s irresponsible lending practices have resulted in a wave of evictions in Boston that are devastating our neighborhoods, especially communities of color,” said Soleded Lawrence, an organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana. Last month, City Life organized several successful eviction blockades to prevent banks from evicting homeowners who had fallen behind on their mortgage payments.
A rally originally started around noon in front of the Bank of America, and after a brief march led the protestors to Citibank, where the activists had locked down. Police presence was large, as expected, but they were not able to stop the activists from locking down. No others were arrested at the peaceful rally.
“Citi and Bank of America are the ATMs of the coal industry,” said Deirdre Lally of Rising Tide Boston. “We’re here today to tell these banks, ‘you have broken our trust, and we will not stop until you stop funding dirty energy and start investing in community solutions.”
For more information, please visit http://www.dirtymoney.org.