In a persistent drizzle on 17 January, a group of protesters swathed in green ponchos unfurled tarps and sleeping bags on the sidewalk in front of Goldman Sachs’ high-rise building on the West Side highway in New York City. A few of them wore handmade swamp creature masks; others bore signs with the swamp creatures on them. A light-board sign declared the bank “Government Sachs”.
The protest was the beginning of a multi-day camp-out aiming to stay on the sidewalk outside the investment bank until the inauguration of Donald Trump, and to bring people affected by the bank’s policies to the doorstep of some of the world’s richest people – some of whom will belong to the Trump administration.
“It’s about highlighting the lie that was told to millions of people in this country, the lie that Trump was draining the swamp. If we really want the swamp to be drained, we have to do it ourselves and we’re doing it by going to Goldman Sachs,” says Nelini Stamp of the Working Families party.
Steven Mnuchin was called Mr Foreclosure. Do you want Mr Foreclosure to be secretary of the treasury?
As the crowd of about 100 people set up camp, the police erected barricades around them but mostly held off as the crowd moved from chanting “The swamp is getting deeper! The swamp is Goldman Sachs!” to a series of speak-outs from the crowd about the bank’s connection to payday lending, the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, foreclosures and more.