Downtown LA Streets Closed After Protesters Stage Sit-In At Bank Of America

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Hundreds of demonstrators and political activists marched through downtown Los Angeles on Thursday as part of growing backlash against the nation’s banking and finance sectors.

An estimated 500 people from the “Occupy L.A.” movement and other groups joined the protest headed by the ReFund California campaign, a statewide effort that its leaders say is designed to force banks to keep families in homes, pay their fair share of taxes and help rebuild hard-hit neighborhoods.

128339733 10 Downtown LA Streets Closed After Protesters Stage Sit In At Bank Of America

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Protesters began staging at the general area of California Plaza at 350 S. Grand Ave. around noon, and then walked to Seventh and Figueroa streets, with many blocking the intersection while some went into a Bank of America and sat down in the lobby.

At about 1:30 p.m., 10 of the protesters were placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the building, as the crowd looked on. While police dispersed the group inside the bank, dozens of other officers circled the intersection to prevent any further disturbances.

“Occupy L.A.” protesters have been camped on the lawn of City Hall since Saturday as part of a nationwide series of demonstrations.

Seven of the 15 Los Angeles City Council members signed a resolution to support “peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights carried out by `Occupy Los Angeles.”‘

Hundreds of demonstrators have been camping on or near Wall Street in New York City since Sept. 17. As many as 700 people have been arrested since then.

The Los Angeles city resolution calls for a vote on a “responsible banking” measure by Oct. 28. It would require the city to divest from banks and financial institutions that have not cooperated with efforts to prevent foreclosures.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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