Spreading protests reach No. 2 US banking city

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of people converged on downtown Charlotte Saturday to march on Bank of America's corporate headquarters as the anti-Wall Street protests spreading across the country reached the second-largest U.S. banking hub.

Hundreds chanted in unison "We are the 99 percent," as they made their way to the headquarters of the country's largest bank by deposits.

Cindy Nelson of Mint Hill said she attended the protest because she was "fed up with the way government is run by money."

"We're not in debt and we're not without income ... but we've got to stand up for those without," she said.

A group called Occupy Charlotte is part of a larger group of protests that began with Occupy Wall Street in New York in mid-September. Related groups planned planning meetings Saturday in Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

Occupy Charlotte organizer Thomas Shope, 47, said the protests are mainly about what he says is the cozy relationship between government and big business. Charlotte-based Bank of America is part of the larger problem of a political and economic system that primarily caters to the rich and powerful, he said.

A Bank of America spokeswoman did not comment on the group's criticisms of the company, but said executives and employees are keeping an eye on the protest.

"The well-being of customers and employees is our number one concern," Nicole Nastacie wrote WBTV in an email.

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