Staking their claim for a second consecutive night, protestors aligned with New York Communities for Change marched around Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan and prepared to spend a night sleeping in the cold.
The "Government Sachs" protest has been going on since Tuesday morning, when activists gathered outside Goldman Sachs' downtown headquarters to protest what they see as the bank's outsized influence on the Trump administration. Last week, protestors aligned with the group briefly occupied the lobby of the Goldman Sachs HQ, before they were removed by police and security:
This time, the NYPD has allocated a small piece of sidewalk near one of the building's entrances, surrounded by three police barricades. The group of about 40 protestors, some wearing swamp monster masks, marched around the building that housed Goldman, chanting slogans in Spanish ("Goldman escucha, estamos en la lucha") and in English, specifically asking Trump to follow his campaign rhetoric and "Drain the swamp." After a few passes around the building, the protestors briefly blocked traffic on the West Side Highway, but moved on before police intervened.
"I heard about the women who got foreclosed on by Mnuchin over 90 cents," protestor Elva Meneses told Gothamist, when asked what brought her out to the protest. Meneses told us that while she didn't stay overnight, she had been at the protest on Tuesday and all day Wednesday.
Oselig Lantigua, a taxi driver from Williamsburg, echoed the concern over housing. "My customers, people i pick up, tell me about how they get kicked out of their houses. They've been in their houses for 30, 40, 50 years, the landlord offers them money or sometimes by some illegal ways, they get kicked out of their house. It's all part of this system."
Organizer Renata Pumarol had stayed overnight on Tuesday, and said that the cold wasn't as bad as the rain. "The most difficult part was the rain. We had sleeping bags and hand warmers and we were dressed pretty okay, but it just kept drizzling constantly." Pumarol was planning to stay the night again, and explained the opposition to Goldman Sachs specifically.
"Goldman is at the top of the pyramid, they have way more power than [banks like Chase, and Citibank]. They're what Matt Taibbi called them, a vampire squid, they have their hands on everything. We know they had a major role in the foreclosure crisis and they have an even more major role in government now than they did before."
Like the morning before, employees, curious passers-by went past the encampment or watched the marchers, seemingly unaware of what was going on. One man who left the building stopped to gawk and laugh, telling a friend on the phone "Yeah, the banner says 'Government Sachs'" and took a picture of it.
The campout is supposed to end Friday, after Trump is sworn in, but Pumarol said that Communities for Change isn't finished yet. "I think [Goldman] hope this will dwindle down, but this is just the beginning of the protest of this administration and also the source of its power, which is Goldman Sachs."