The Rally, March, and Civil Disobedience
Yesterday (Monday, November 21st) over 350 folks marched in downtown Springfield to the Bank of America demanding an end to ALL no-fault evictions after foreclosure and loan modifications with principal reduction to the current market value. The march was organized by Springfield No One Leaves/!Nade se Mude!, a community organization that helps former owners and tenants stay in their homes after foreclosure.* People came from all over the Northeast including, Boston, Hartford, Worcester, Chelsea, Northampton, Amherst, Pittsfield and more. And of course, Springfield represented in big numbers! Protestors marched down Main Street with signs, banners and raucous chants, stopping twice to demand that banks stop foreclosing and reduce principal and that the Sheriff and banks stop all no-fault evictions after foreclosure!
The march ended at the downtown branch of Bank of America where 15 protesters chose to risk arrest by sitting in at the bank. They sit-in blocked the doors and occupied other spaces inside the bank in an attempt to prevent others from leaving until banks gave into the demands. Inside they used the “people’s mic” to communicate the groups demands to the bank, before chanting along with the crowd outside. The police were called and arrested the group now being called (with tongue firmly in cheek) “the Bank of America 15.”
*AFSC was not the primary organizers of the rally/march, although we are a coalition member of the Springfield No One Leaves Coalition.
The “Bank of America 15”
They were released last night (Monday) at 10:00pm from the Springfield Police Station on Pearl Street, after spending the day in custody. Their arraignment was held this morning at the Springfield Court House, where they were represented by the esteemed Attorney Luke Ryan from the National Lawyers Guild and Attorney Linda Thompson. Their sole charge of criminal trespass was converted into a civil infraction, which is to be addressed through $100 fine or 8 hours of community service. All arrested have agreed to do community service.