AMHERST, Mass (Reuters) – Fifteen people were arrested at a sit-in against home foreclosures at a Bank of America branch in Massachusetts on Monday, while Tea Party supporters demonstrated across the street, organizers and police said.
Roughly 350 supporters of New England tenants and former homeowners complaining about foreclosures by large Wall Street banks were joined by protesters from anti-Wall Street “Occupy” movements at a Bank of America branch in downtown Springfield.
Seven protesters were cuffed and led away after sitting down inside the branch and refusing to leave, while eight others who blocked the bank’s entrances and cash machines were arrested, Springfield Police Lieutenant John Bobianski said.
All 15 were charged with trespassing and were expected to be freed on bail before being arraigned on Tuesday, Bobianski said. A Bank of America spokesman, T.J. Crawford, declined to comment on the protest.
Malcolm Chu, a spokesman with march organizer Springfield No One Leaves, said protesters were demanding the bank “end all no-fault evictions and reduce principal on loan modifications to the current value.”
A group of some 20 Tea Party supporters stood across the street, 500 feet away, holding a counter-demonstration, although they did not appear to directly interfere with the protesters, according to both Chu and Bobianski.
RealtyTrac said earlier this month that there were more than 1.5 million properties in foreclosure across the country, 3.6 million delinquent loans and another 12 million properties underwater. (Reporting by Zach Howard. Editing by Cynthia Johnston)
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