Think capitalism gives freedom? Especially the freedom to “choose” what you do with your money or how you spend it? Try this on for size: about 23 customers of Citibank have been arrested and charged with “criminal trespass” for trying to close their banks accounts at the Occupy Wall Street Protest. Early in the afternoon a group of people went into a Citibank at La Guardia Place to close their bank accounts in protest of the banking system. Police were called and those legitimate customers of the bank were held and arrested.
Citibank released the following statement regarding the incident:
“A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.”
However a cursory glace at the footage shows that the customers were not being “disruptive” at all, there were in fact being very orderly and calm. There are also eyewitness accounts that completely contradict the claims made by Citibank. Hardly an excuse for charging more than 20 people with “criminal trespass”.
Even in the darkest of times during the Great Depression, or even during the financial panic where people were withdrawing their money, arresting customers was not done. This shows the utter desperation the banks have at silencing protest. Citibank clearly did not want the idea of people withdrawing their money spreading.
Once again the free market and the profit motive speak.