Rage over $165 million in bonuses for employees of bailout-beneficiary American International Group spilled into the streets Thursday when over 100 people protested outside AIG's K Street office in Washington, D.C.
"AIG, you can't hide, we can see your greedy side!" chanted the protesters, many of whom carried purple signs made by the Service Employees International Union. The group marched in front of the large office building for 30 minutes, shaking soda cans filled with pebbles and chanting continuously. "They waste money -- with no shame -- bail out bankers -- that's just lame!"
The event, organized by the SEIU and others, including MoveOn.org and ACORN, was part of a nationwide effort to protest local AIG offices in 32 states. (If you're attending one of the other demonstrations, report back and/or send us photos.)
Standing in front of an oversized "reality check," SEIU president Andy Stern addressed the crowd with a bullhorn.
"We're here today because after 25 years of corporate excess, of greed, of speculation, these corporate leaders have brought the greatest economy on earth to its knees," he said. "It is time to end an economy that only works for some and make this an economy that works for all Americans."
"They give out a lot of checks at AIG, but we have a check," Stern said. "It's a reality check! From the American people to AIG!"
The crowd chanted as Stern, surrounded by media, walked with the check into the building lobby.
Organizers left the big check in a lobby window, but it bounced; building workers removed it immediately. And a man in the doorway told protesters as they began to leave that he wasn't giving his bonus back.
The SEIU shot some video as well.