More than 500 protesters gathered outside the Merchants Exchange Building across from the bank’s San Francisco headquarters to express anger over the company’s home foreclosures, predatory lending practices, and investments in private prison companies and said it does not pay enough taxes
About a dozen protesters managed to enter the bank and briefly disrupted the meeting.
A San Francisco police officer confirmed the 24 arrests and accused the detainees of trespassing and trying to interrupt the annual meeting.
Carrying signs that read: “99 percent take over, topple the 1 percent” and “Up with the people, down with the bankers,” the protesters said the bank is responsible for making thousands of US citizens homeless.
“Wells Fargo is one of the largest and most corrupt Wall Street banks and has foreclosed on hundreds of thousands of homes,” said Charles Davidson, an organizer with Move On East Bay. “I think it’s really important that we stand up to this or the economic crisis will continue.”
“Banks are big and greedy,” said one protester, adding, “They only care about themselves.”
Wells Fargo is the largest provider of US home loans and runs the biggest servicing operation, which handles billings, collections, and foreclosures for banks and investors who own mortgages. It expanded across the United States after buying North Carolina-based Wachovia Corp in 2008.
Activist groups are targeting corporate stockholder meetings this spring to draw attention to economic disparity in the United States and to promote a variety of other causes.
The Occupy Wall Street movement emerged after a group of demonstrators gathered in New York’s financial district on September 17, 2011 to protest against the excessive influence of big corporations on US policies as well as corruption and the unjust distribution of wealth