Last Monday, Charlotte, North Carolina's city manager declared Bank of America's annual shareholder meeting taking place this Wednesday an "extraordinary event."
The extraordinary event tag refers to a city ordinance enacted in January in anticipation of the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Charlotte in September. The extension of the ordinance to cover the Bank of America meeting on May 9 gives law enforcement officials far-reaching power to limit protest and search protesters' belongings. Possession of articles as mundane as a magic marker near the site of an extraordinary event can be grounds for arrest.
We ask, what is so extraordinary about people protesting a bank that has created so much havoc in the lives of so many? What seems extraordinary is Bank of America helping bring the economy to the brink of collapse. Extraordinary is receiving a $45 billion taxpayer-funded bailout and then lobbying to defeat reforms designed to prevent another crisis. Fraudulently foreclosing on families is behavior worthy of the label "extraordinary."
We believe protest at the Bank of America meeting this year is not just normal -- it's the only response that makes sense. We don't want to protest Bank of America's shareholder meeting, but we have to, to protect our country from more unchecked corporate greed and abuse.
We want Bank of America to write down mortgages and keep families in their homes. We want Bank of America to provide good-quality and affordable loan products. We want Bank of America to stop providing financial backing to dirty energy, private prisons and predatory payday lending. We want Bank of America to pay its fair share of taxes.
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