Occupy Berkeley opts-out of protest at Chase Bank, holds info session

Protesters prop up signs outside of the Chase bank on Shattuck Avenue.
Tony Zhou/Staff
Protesters prop up signs outside of the Chase bank on Shattuck Avenue.

Outside Chase Bank in Downtown Berkeley Saturday morning, four men from Occupy Berkeley stood patiently, handing out fliers and making small talk with passers-by.

The men did not chant slogans condemning big banks or make any calls to action that have marked protests that are part of the Occupy movement over the last few months. But this was not, in fact, a protest — it was more of a casual informative session outside the bank.

“Today’s a reach-out day, not so much a march and a rally,” said John Holzinger, a UC Berkeley junior who is involved in the Berkeley movement.

The group, whose number fluctuated between four and eight people during the day, began distributing fliers at around 10 a.m. and planned to keep going until they simply ran out of fliers, according to Berkeley resident Russell Bates, who has spent the night at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park — where Occupy Berkeley protesters have staged an encampment since Oct. 15.

Though demonstrators originally planned to shut down Chase Bank in a protest — where they would block patrons from entering the bank and eventually spread to the nearby Wells Fargo and Bank of America branches — the Occupy Berkeley general assembly made a sudden decision about one and a half days prior to hold an information session instead, according to Nick Dominguez, who has been involved in the movement.

Dominguez said the image that more physically aggressive protests have given off in the past is not necessarily one that the Occupy Berkeley general assembly wanted to be associated with.

Another activist on the scene, Jaime Alvaro, acknowledged the significant change in tactics — something he felt was equally important as the bold and in-your-face style of previous demonstrations at Chase Bank.

“For me, both ways are effective,” Alvaro said. “But we also need to reach people with the facts on financial institutes.”

Throughout the demonstration, those going in and out of Chase Bank were left mostly undisturbed, save for the flier routinely pushed their way. In other words, it was business as usual.

“I know we’re small,” Holzinger said. “But when people go around working together, the impact grows and grows. That’s what I believe.”

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  • “But we also need to reach people with the facts on financial institutes.”


  • Michaelj2006


  • What’s New

    I watched this at noon.  It was pathetic how little response they got.  I would have loved to have seen them try to shut down Chase with 3 protesters.   The MLK camps is mostly homeless people who are fighting each other and causing violence.  The BoA site had to be closed down cuz no one would stay there.

    Occupy Berkeley — you are pathetic.

    • Guest

      hi! what’s wrong with homeless people camping out?

      and can you point me to facts showing that there has been violence there? and how many fights there have been? it sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time there.

      • What’s New

        Read the Berk Daily Planet.  A homeless advocate has been reporting on the violence.  Sorry to burst your bubble of happy happy happy.  And if you are okay with homeless camping out, please post your home address so we can send a few your way.  Something tells me you won’t, however.

        • What’s New

          Gee.  big talk but small walk.  not interested in helping the homeless if it infringes on YOUR rights, huh?

          • Completely Serious

            Not interested in helping the homeless, period.
            The kind of chronic homeless who live on the streets are wasteoids with drug addictions who ought to be kicked out of town, not coddled and given free reign of the City.

          • homelesspieceofshit?

            Boy, you picked the WRONG town to live in to hate homeless people. were you aware of Berkeley’s history AT ALL or its Liberal politics….? perhaps its you who should be” Kicked Out of Town” and denied “free reign of the city” since you do not care to learn or accept the way and the why of this city was when you came to it.

    • Anon

      The only time Berkeley protests get any significant numbers is when the anarchist groups call people from out of town to come try to instigate clashes with the Police so that they can shriek “POLICE BRUTALITY!!! STOP BEATING STUDENTS!!!” and post videos on YouTube. That’s why of the people who get arrested at these things aren’t actually UCB students or Berkeley residents.

      I’m not sure what their endgame is.
      Do they want all Police departments to be shut down? Or what? Why do they keep instigating these fights with the Police?

      • Anonymous

        Lol… you couldn’t be more wrong with the whole regarding how UCB students aren’t involved in Occupy Cal.   Go find a list of some of the people that got arrested!  Or people present in the protests.  Did you even know that at least two UCB faculty members were also ones that were arrested?  Ya, bet  you didn’t know….  quit assuming things you don’t know.  

  • Alfonso the Great

    Wow, respect!  It’s like they actually want to get people on their side instead of just play-act at being relevant.