People in Minneapolis and St. Paul gathered to protest Congress’ proposed $700 billion bailout for financial firms Thursday evening.
A group of about 25 demonstrators gathered at the Federal Reserve branch on Hennepin Avenue for the demonstration in downtown Minneapolis, while a similar demonstration was held in St. Paul.
University law professor Prentiss Cox, who spoke at the Minneapolis demonstration, called the $700 billion bill “an outrageous proposal” in an interview.
“I’ve been calling it a reverse criminal action, where you give restitution to the perpetrators and either do nothing or punish the victims,” Cox said. “The companies that caused this problem think they can dictate the terms of college students’ future debt obligations. It’s really shameless.”
The Twin Cities protests were two of over 250 events planned through the website truemajority.org. The website argues that the bailout gives financial firms a giant windfall at taxpayer expense.
Truemajority spokesman Donald McFarland also met with demonstrators and press, repeating the message behind the protest: “Bailout main street, not Wall Street.”
While presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain met with President George W. Bush on Thursday in hopes of finding a bipartisan solution to the credit crisis, demonstrators and McFarland were clear about their political positions.
“This president and conservative ideology are what got us here,” McFarland said.
Truemajority.org provided downloadable protest materials such as rally programs, talking points and signs that read “No Bush Bailout,” which is the main message of the protests.
University alumnus Taylor Park was at the Fed to speak out against the bailout.
“If only people knew the background of this Legislature, everyone in the city would be down here,” he said. The class of 2005 cinema studies major also said the treasury had admitted the $700 billion figure had been chosen arbitrarily, and meant to sensationalize the crisis.
Demonstrators were able to create listings for their own events as well as search for protests in their own areas.
Matt Holland , the website’s online director, said plans got underway Monday for nationwide protests. Thousands were involved nationwide with the biggest event happening in New York on Wall Street.
According to Cox, the Treasury Department has requested unlimited power with no responsibility to report on their methods or decisions.
“We’re being told there’s no time to consider anything except a blank check,” he said. “People should be in the streets about this.”
The St. Paul protest at 4th and Broadway streets took place at the Black Dog Café , only a block away from St. Paul’s own Wall Street.