SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Police arrested dozens of Anti-Wall Street protesters in San Francisco on Wednesday after they occupied a Bank of America branch in the city’s financial district.
Roughly 50 demonstrators flooded into the bank during an organized march that began at the protesters’ downtown encampment and finished at a state office building about a half mile away.
The group set up a tent inside the bank branch as more than 100 bystanders watched from outside and police in riot helmets arrested the occupiers one by one, bringing them to a waiting bus.
One protester waved a sign inside that read “make banks pay.” Another held up a sign to a local television station that said they were protesting the link between California’s public higher education system and the banks.
The protesters chanted “we are the 99 percent,” as they were being arrested.
Earlier during the march, the protesters, who held American flags and signs and beat on drums, could be seen on a Ustream video of the scene chanting “Who do you protect, who do you serve?” at the officers.
One threw a small bunch of flowers at the feet of police.
Police, who appeared to be in the process of arresting all of the protesters inside the bank, said they could not immediately say how many people had been taken into custody or what charges they would face.
OccupySF organizers said in tweets that 47 people had been arrested.
San Francisco police spokesman Sergeant Michael Andraychak told Reuters protesters would be arrested if the department received a request to do so from the bank because it is private property.
(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Mary Slosson; Writing by Mary Slosson; Editing by Jerry Norton)
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