03/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Downtown Activists Take On Bailout Recipients, Haiti Aid

Produced by HuffPost's Eyes & Ears Citizen Journalism Unit

This past Friday, a coalition of groups under the banner "Bail Out the People" took to the streets to express their anger over the TARP bailouts and Wall Street bonuses. About 75 people stood one block down from the New York Stock Exchange listening to speakers on many subjects from the bank bailouts and student MetroCards to teachers unions and Haiti's devastation.

New York City Councilman Charles Barron was among the speakers who chanted "Bailout Haiti, Not Wall Street!" -- a last-second change in message. The protesters and many of the speakers proposed that President Obama take the Wall Street bonuses, which according to the Wall Street Journal amount to nearly $145 billion, and give that money to the Haiti relief effort.

In his weekly address this past Saturday, President Obama proposed a .15% tax on businesses that make over $50 billion and called the bailouts "distasteful but necessary."

Bail Out the People representative Gabriel Gemra would surely have disagreed with the president, judging by these sentiments:

The banks destroyed the economy, and within a year, they're making record profits... Goldman Sachs is handing out like $20 billion in bonuses. New York City lost 100,000 jobs since the banks destroyed the economy about a year and a half ago. A hundred thousand jobs at $20 an hour with benefits would cost $3.5 billion. Their bonuses are $20 billion. We need to build a moment that will wrest that money from them.

The march may have been small but the message was loud enough to be heard by those working in the Goldman Sachs offices, one of the stops on the march. "Goldman Sachs, GO TO HELL" "Goldman Sachs, GO TO HELL"


oin the JHuffPost NY Local Reporting Team

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