Occupy protest holds maths class in bank

A MOCK maths class, as a symbol of the absurdity of mammoth sums of money being paid to bail out the banks, was held in a Cork branch of AIB by the city’s Occupy protesters.

To the shock and surprise of staff and customers, a group of about 20 children and adults entered the South Mall branch at about 11am and began holding a class in the middle of the bank.

In what was a daring escapade filmed by local students, the children sat on the floor in front of a whiteboard as a teacher attempted to explain the figures behind the bailout.

After about a half an hour, the protesters were told they had “made their point” and were asked to move on.

Outside the bank, a garda van had pulled up and a guard stood outside the door.

“It’s ironic that the bank can call the guards on us but we can’t call the guards when the banks are robbing the people of the country,” one protester said.

The event was the brainchild of Fermoy-based teacher Robert Hamilton. “I got the idea from a similar event in Edinburgh where people occupied the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters after it was bailed out last year. I thought we could do the same thing on a smaller scale and being a teacher, I thought it would be a good way to highlight the effect this will have on our children.”

Mr Hamilton said the group left before the bank or the guards got “upset” over the occupation as they did not want the children to experience any tension.

“They are all children of ours or friends — this was not affiliated to any school.”

Mr Hamilton said he became involved with the Occupy movement as he feels future generations are being compromised by the government’s insistence on paying vast sums of money to save the banks.

“The single payment that was made this week would allow low teacher pupil ratios for years to come. We are bound to an increase in class sizes in the near future and I think as teachers and parents we should rail against this.”

Occupy Cork is part of a global protest movement against the economic meltdown. Their camp has been set up in the city centre since last month.

Earlier in the week, they held a “reverse bank raid” where they staged a mock million euro cheque being stolen from City Hall and brought to the bank on the South Mall.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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