Bank Protests Come to Springfield

A large crowd of protesters from around the state marched through Springfield on Monday afternoon, halting traffic for more than an hour as they shouted their opposition to the bank bailouts of 2008.

They called it a "non-violent peaceful act of civil disobedience," walking from the south end of Main Street and ending at a prominent Bank of America office downtown. About 300 people from around the state shouted, "Bank of America, bad for America."

Ten protesters managed to get inside the bank and planted themselves on the floor. After about 20 minutes, they were arrested by city police and walked out in handcuffs without resisting. Malcolm Chu is a community organizer with a group called Springfield No One Leaves.

"We're here today because banks like Bank of America and the Wall Street banks are foreclosing and evicting on families ruthlessly without any willingness to work with families even when families can afford to pay rent or afford the mortgage at the current value. And instead they leave homes vacant, they leave neighborhoods in ruins and destruction. So we're here to let them know we're going to keep fighting and that we're going to win the demands of stopping all no-fault evictions after foreclosure."

Chu says he also wants bank to reduce principal loans on homes to their current market value. The bank offered no comment and kept its doors locked, with signs on the door that read, "Closed for service and repairs." Last week there was a similar protest in Amherst at another Bank of America branch.