Hundreds of people converged in Charlotte, NC on May 9 to protest Bank of America’s (BoA) annual shareholders meeting. Activists from Appalachia fighting mountaintop removal coal mining joined forces with housing rights activists, unions, immigrant rights groups, and the Occupy movement to call for an end to BoA’s destructive practices. Bank of America is the largest funder of the coal industry and also is a leader in home foreclosures.
Chanting “Whose mountains, our mountains!” and “Whose homes, our homes!” the activists descended on BoA’s headquarters on three different marches. When the marches arrived at the entrance to the shareholders meeting, the crowd swarmed the intersection, shutting it down for two hours. 5 people were arrested, some trying to force their way into the shareholders meeting. At least one of those arrested was in the process of being kicked out of his home by BoA. Meanwhile on the inside, dozens of activists, grilled BoA’s CEO with questions about his companies devastating practices.
After occupying the intersection, the crowd embarked on a lively march through the streets of Charlotte, repeatedly taking the streets despite police trying to keep people on the sidewalk. The protest was the largest Charlotte has seen in years and was viewed by many as a warm-up for the massive protests expected at this years Democratic National Convention which will also be held in the city.