Occupy Berkeley plans to shut down Chase Bank Saturday

Occupy Berkeley announced this week that it will attempt to shut down the Chase Bank in Downtown Berkeley this Saturday.
Shirin Ghaffary/Staff
Occupy Berkeley announced this week that it will attempt to shut down the Chase Bank in Downtown Berkeley this Saturday.

Occupy Berkeley announced this week that it will attempt to shut down the downtown branch of Chase Bank on Saturday by staging a peaceful demonstration in front of the building.

Starting at 10 a.m., the group plans to block the bank’s door and ATMs as well as bar patrons from entering the bank — located at 2150 Shattuck Ave. — according to Bo-Peter Laanen, UC Berkeley junior and one of the group’s facilitators. However, they will allow employees to go in and out of the building and will not block the entrance to the nearby Downtown Berkeley BART station, he said.

He added that based on the bank’s previous reaction to protests, he thinks the employees will be allowed to go home and the branch will close.

If enough people show up, the protest will spread to the nearby Wells Fargo and Bank of America branches, according to Occupy Berkeley’s Facebook page.

Larry Silver, Occupy Berkeley protester and a Berkeley resident of more than 25 years, said the movement is singling out Chase because the success of last week’s Bank Transfer Day — an event encouraging people to shift their money from large banks to credit unions — has put the institution ahead of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

“We’re advocating taking your money out of the big banks and putting them into local credit unions,” he said. “It can be put to better use (there).”

Chase could not be reached for comment.

Silver said he does not know how many people will participate, but hopes “as many a possible” will attend.

“It’s going to be nonviolent and peaceful,” he said.

City spokesperson Mary Kay Clunies-Ross said there is general concern over public safety, protection of property and access.

Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department, said that the department does not reveal its plans regarding protests but that its mission is always to keep residents safe.

“It would be premature of us to speculate on numbers of individuals/crowds or what may occur, but our plans encompass community safety, to include participants in the action and if possible a liaison — dialogue with the organizers to communicate what is legally appropriate and what would be considered unlawful,” Kusmiss said in a email.

Occupy Berkeley began about a month ago, when protesters decided to occupy the area outside the downtown Bank of America branch. Later in October, the group split into two, some staying at the bank and others occupying Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Late last week, the group decided to consolidate the two groups and all move to the park, according to Laanen.

“It’s just more comfortable for us. That spot outlasted itself,” he said. “We’ll probably go back when the rainy season is over.”

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • Lester

    How is it peaceful to forceable block access to a business?

  • So all the protesters are going to withdraw their funds from Chase Bank? That probably comes to about $1000 total…

  • BankOnIt

    You have to be smart about it if you need to use Chase on Saturday – just say that you are going in to withdrawal your money so you can put it in a credit union.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s going to be nonviolent and peaceful,” he said.

    Except by using physical force to prevent peaceful people from accessing their accounts. What doublethink.

  • joe

    selfish wanna be hippies won’t draw any support from residents and students who need to visit their bank branch on Saturday because they are too busy *working* during the week. They are only forcefully employing their agenda on the 99%.

    • joe

      imposing, not employeeing

      • joe

        Wow, I hope no one uses my typos for ad hominem attacks.

  • Anonymous

    More nonsense from the clueless. Spread the misery around clowns.

    • Sol Invictus

      Gold is king, and the wind blows misery
      Gold is king, and the wind blows usury

      A falling leaf from a poisoned tree
      A fetid river flows into an empty sea

      The lute is cracked as is the spinner’s wheel
      A broken plough stands on a barren field

      The sun is dying, dark comes the dawn
      And in the womb, the child stillborn

      Gold is king, and the wind blows misery
      Gold is king, and the wind blows usury

      • Hahaha

        How’d that bank shutdown go, fuckface?

  • Guest

    FYI.  If you attempt to prevent me from carrying out a personal transaction with my bank at whatever time I choose, I will show up with a baseball bat.

    • Soccersam5

      Because the protesters are the ones with the balls.

      • Anonymous

         yes, they deserve to hit in the balls.

        • Anonymous is dum

          i dun speek engrish well.  

      • You’re too easily impressed with your own bad-ass attitude when in the middle of a mob. Let’s see how brave you are in a 1-on-1 confrontation with a real working person when you try to block access to an ATM.