Goldman Protests Feature Swamp Creatures Vowing to Stay All Weekby
Organizer: ‘We are here to launch an encampment at Goldman’
Earlier rally ended after police ejected activists from lobby
Protesters, this time dressed as swamp creatures, returned to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s headquarters in downtown New York on Tuesday, pledging to stay for the week as they demonstrate against the bank’s influence in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
More than 60 people gathered outside of the building, chanted slogans and waved banners as police officers and bemused office workers looked on. Some participants wore monster masks or laid out sleeping bags on tarps along the wet and frigid sidewalk.
“We are here to launch an encampment at Goldman Sachs,” said Jonathan Westin, director of New York Communities for Change, leading the crowd in call and response. The country shouldn’t be run by billionaires and bankers, he said.
The activists plan to stay until Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. The demonstration was organized by New York Communities for Change, which also has sought higher pay for fast-food workers and better living conditions for tenants. At another event targeting the bank on Jan. 4, protesters entered the building’s lobby with a banner that said “Government Sachs.” They were ejected.
“We respect every individual’s rights to assembly and free speech in accordance with laws,” Tiffany Galvin, a company spokeswoman, said Tuesday.
Trump has enlisted Goldman Sachs alumni for senior government posts after ripping rivals during the campaign for ties to the firm and vowing to “drain the swamp” by ending influence peddling in Washington. He picked Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at the bank, to be Treasury secretary and enlisted Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for the top White House economic post. Stephen Bannon, another alumnus, was named chief strategist, and Dina Powell was named a senior adviser.
Westin accused Trump of deceiving voters, saying in an interview that the president-elect isn’t draining the swamp. The organizer called for Goldman-connected nominees to be blocked.
Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein told the New York Times last week that presidents tap his firm’s executives because of their caliber. “It pains me to lose some of them,” the paper quoted Blankfein as saying. “But the perception that they’ll go to Washington and then favor us is false. The reverse is true. They’ll bend over backwards to avoid that.”
The protests come as politicians, economists and business leaders from around the globe gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the year ahead and try to discern the impact of Trump’s policies on markets and growth.