Seventeen people were arrested Monday as hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched outside Goldman Sachs to show support for similar protests around the country that have been shut down in recent days.
The group marched from Zuccotti Park - its former base camp until the NYPD dismantled it last month - to the investment bank's West Street headquarters, protesting the financial firm and its bonus-paying practices.
Demonstrators dressed in squid costumes, playing off Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi's description of Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
Despite the tenor of the protest, the peaceful demonstration did not interfere with commuters heading to work or people entering the West Street building.
"All they do is steal people's money," said protester and Harlem resident George Machado, 20, who has been part of Occupy Wall Street since it began in September. "And we bail them out. It's pretty disgusting."
Protesters said they were upset at the banking firm for accepting bailout money, paying employees high salaries and bonuses, betting against investments and using its riches 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."