Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Occupy LA Demands a Stop to Mortgage Foreclosures; Police Arrest Six

[translated from Spanish by Darren Taylor, printed in  La Opinion, by Jorge Morales Almada /]

They were few, but loud. Loud enough to close down several streets and attract police intervention. They were so well organized that their demands were heard from Los Angeles to Germany. The protest, which took place yesterday, was carried out by members of Occupy LA, in opposition to mortgage foreclosures.

The activists, some who were part of an Occupy LA offshoot, Occupy Fights Foreclosures (OFF) , gathered before noon in front of the German consulate in Los Angeles.

The target of their protest was Deutsche Bank, a German bank which ordered the eviction of an East Los Angeles family who has been living in their home for 14 years.

As Carlos Marroquín, member of Occupy LA stated, this financial institution has not respected the terms of a loan modification they made with the Lucero family, and now they want to to throw them out on the street.
“We are calling attention to the practices of Deutsche Bank which act against US families and the Lucero family in particular, who received an eviction order one month ago”, said Marroquín in front of the consulate, which was guarded by LAPD officers.

A month ago, when they received notice of foreclosure, the Lucero family requested support from Occupy LA to prevent the eviction, and subsequently members of this social movement set up a barricaded encampment which they named Fort Lucero, and awaited the arrival of the sheriffs.

“We are protecting this property because we know that this bank has committed various irregularities”, said Marroquín. “We want to bring this to the attention of the German government, so they know that they do to us what they don’t do in their own country.”

In 1998, Mrs. Lucero acquired a duplex home at 4750 Hammel strreet, in East Los Angeles, a predominantly lower middle-class Latino neighborhood.

Due to the economic recession, in 2008, she began struggling with the monthly payments of $2,320 dollars and requested a loan modification, which, according to Mrs. Lucero, was granted.

However, explained Mrs. Lucero, the bank did not accept payments for several months, and on September 27 they evicted her children who were living in the front area of the duplex and also informed her that she was in foreclosure.

“I don’t want to keep this house for free, I want them to accept my payments”, said Mrs. Lucero in front of the offices of Deutsche Bank in Century City, where protesters moved to proceed with an act of civil disobedience.

A dozen protesters sat in the intersection of the Avenue of the Stars to stop traffic. The police, who were waiting for the protesters, ordered them to move back, but were ignored. Minutes later, they laid down in an intersection of Constellation street, provoking anger from those driving past in luxurious Mercedes Benz.

Employees of Deutsche Bank came out to confront the demonstrators and demanded that the police arrest them.

Efraín Cerda, laying down on the asphalt and ready to be arrested commented: “We want the banks to stop taking homes from the people, and these people (pointing at the bank employees) to wake up and realize the injustices we are fighting against.”

La Opinión contacted Deutsche Bank’s central offices in New York, but at the time of this edition were unable to obtain a comment from the company.

After about two hours of protest, a team of LAPD riot police arrested six of the protesters and retook control of the streets.

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