Two dozen protesters were arrested at a Citibank branch in New York yesterday. Protestors say they were there to close down their accounts as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been carried out since September 17th against Wall Street and banks due to what protesters see as corporate greed and corruption. Citibank called for the arrest of the protestors, claiming that they were "trespassing". However, on October 12, just three days prior to the arrests, Citibank's CEO issued an open invitation to the protestors to come to the bank:
“Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S., and that is Wall Street’s job, to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust,” Pandit said today at a breakfast organized by Fortune magazine in New York.
“I’d talk about the fact that they should hold Citi and the financial institutions accountable for practicing responsible finance,” Pandit, 54, said. “I’d be happy to talk to them any time they want to come up.”
The protestors accepted his invitation and showed up at the LaGuardia Place branch. Protestors soon found that the doors were locked behind them and were promptly arrested. Video footage released by protestors shows one woman outside in a business suit being forced INTO the bank, where she, too, was arrested.
Citibank issued an open invitation to the protestors. If protestors file lawsuits against the bank for imprisonment and unlawful arrest, the bank will have quite a hard time defending their claim that the protesters were "trespassing".