More than 90 people have been arrested so far during this weekend’s Occupy Wall Street “Global Day of Protest” in New York City, and two dozen of those arrested were at the La Guardia Place Citibank branch Saturday.
While reports that the bank was arresting customers trying to close their accounts went viral, authorities maintained that the protesters were detained for trespassing and other violations, including wearing masks and resisting arrest.
The demonstrators staged a sit-in at the West Village bank Saturday, stating that they wanted to close their Citibank accounts. They were handcuffed and removed by police shortly after.
On Saturday evening Citibank Public Affairs issued a statement regarding the incident: “A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.”
“To be clear: no one was arrested for closing an account; we didn’t lock people in our branch – the police decided to close the branch; and we didn’t ask for anyone to be arrested - that is a police decision.”
There was also a brief standoff at a nearby Chase Bank, but no arrests were made.
The rest of the New York City arrests took place in Times Square and Washington Square Park. Demonstrators were ordered to leave the park at midnight, and those who refused were taken into police custody.
Demonstrations also took place around the world, including Orlando Florida, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and internationally in Rome, Italy and Australia and Asia.