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During Friday’s lunch hour, a group of about 30 demonstrators organized by the San Diego Coffee Party took to the streets of downtown, carrying signs and occasionally bursting into chants. They gathered at the park outside Horton Plaza and walked to regional offices of a handful of banks, stopping outside of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, and finally Citibank.

Led by nattily attired pseudo-bankers, the demonstrators shouted disturbing statistics about the banking industry and handed out leaflets detailing their claims. Among them: Homes in America are being foreclosed at the rate of one every seven seconds. The chairman of Wells Fargo made $26.6 million last year; the average bank teller’s pay was $21,392. Six banks (including the aforementioned and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) control wealth equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP. Flyers also detailed executive bonuses paid to banking executives, money the banks spent lobbying against regulation, and offshore subsidiaries established as tax havens.

Reception of the group was generally upbeat, as high-fives were exchanged with Greenpeace solicitors, cheers received from passersby, and honks provided by cars (and one enthusiastic truck driver). The only negative encounters involved an angry cabbie and a security guard for Citibank who attempted to chase off the group.

The Coffee Party formed in recent months as a response to the Tea Party, calling for many of the same reforms but pledging to do so in a different way: “We encourage deliberation guided by reason amongst the many viewpoints held by our members. We see our diversity as a strength, not a weakness...” (from coffeepartyusa.com).

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Comments

shizzyfinn May 22, 2010 @ 3:32 p.m.

Nice reporting - thanks, Mr. Rice. And cheers to the protesters for calling out the ridiculousness of banker profiteering.

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David Dodd May 24, 2010 @ 12:56 p.m.

"The only negative encounters involved an angry cabbie and a security guard for Citibank who attempted to chase off the group."

Rice, you need to invest in an inexpensive video camera, that footage would have been priceless ;)

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clockerbob May 26, 2010 @ 10:25 a.m.

President Obama, as de-facto chairman of Citi and BOA along with GM ,GMAC and armed services ads controls the largest block of ad revenue for TV & Newspapers.

Through heavy and unwarranted advertising, large banks have become Federal conduits for subsidizing Tv & Newspapers This bail-out has seen the TV media remain aloft from the lay-offs and cost cutting that other industries and individual citizens have faced. It has enabled the administration to census http://wikileaks.org/ from TV screens or discussion.

Citi and BOA are big players in socialism.

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Joe Poutous May 26, 2010 @ 2:23 p.m.

I had no idea that there was a "Coffee Party" (and I pay attention!).

I do like some of the ideas that are espoused by the Tea Party, but I can't wrap my head around the bigotry and churchyness.

I'll be watching! - Joe

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