Angry Homeowners, Community Groups Protested at Wells Fargo AGM
April 29th, 2012
Thousands of angry homeowners, immigrants, union members, Occupiers and community groups converged on the annual shareholders meeting of Wells Fargo Bank. In a carefully choreographed protest, simultaneous marches left Justin Herman Plaza on the city’s waterfront, site of the Occupy San Francisco encampment last fall. Demonstrators walked up parallel streets into the financial district, where they encircled the block in which the meeting was set to take place, in the Julia Morgan ballroom of the Merchant’s Exchange Building.
A group of religious, union and community representatives had purchased shares of stock in the bank beforehand, supposedly allowing them to attend the shareholders meeting. Some even held proxies, allowing them to vote the stock belonging to others. As the rally swirled outside, and speeches and songs filled the streets now vacant of their normal traffic, the police closed off the building and refused to let the shareholders inside:
Wells Fargo blocked over a hundred legitimate shareholders from entering the meeting, saying that the room had reached maximum capacity. About 20 shareholders inside took turns interrupting the CEO while he tried to give his speech. They were escorted out of the meeting. The meeting ended in 37 minutes (compared to 2.5 hours in previous years), with not a single question, largely due to the turmoil both outside and inside the meeting and the fact that Wells packed the room with their own employees.
While the media coverage portrayed the events as part of the Occupy movement, PICO groups in the Bay Area, SEIU, NPA, ACCE, AJS, NBL and other organizing groups provided the core leadership for the event.