DOWNTOWN — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the headquarters of banking giant Goldman Sachs Monday morning as part of an Occupy Wall Street protest — using sea creatures to symbolize the company’s portrayal as a “vampire squid.”
The group marched from Zuccotti Park — site of the nearly month-long OWS encampment ultimately dismantled by the NYPD — to the investment bank’s West Street building to protest the financial firm and its bonus-paying practices.
Demonstrators carried creative variations on squid, playing off Rolling Stone scribe Matt Taibbi's description of the bank as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
One protester created a squid hat, another made a hand puppet, and yet another made a huge puppet on sticks.
Despite the tenor of the protest, the non-violent demonstration did not interfere with commuters heading to work and people entering the West Street building.
"All they do is steal people's money," said protester and Harlem resident George Machado, 20, who said he has been part of Occupy Wall Street since the beginning. "And we bail them out. It's pretty disgusting."
Protesters said they were upset at the banking firm for accepting bailout money, giving paying employees high salaries and bonuses, betting against investments even as they were telling people to invest in, and using money to influence politics.
"It seems like nothing has changed, even though there's been an economic collapse," explained demonstrator Cristina Winsor, 34, an NYU graduate who lives in the Meatpacking District. "Goldman Sachs needs to be held responsible."
Amid chants of "Everybody pays their tax, everyone but Goldman Sachs," some protesters used humor to stress their point. One group handed out fliers to commuters during the demonstration reading, “We’re just a bunch of privileged kids who don’t know what we’re talking about.”