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By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

October 28, 2011

Unions, students, foreclosure victims and a special Egyptian envoy protest bank CEOs in letter form.

Shannon Bell, Citigroup’s head of corporate communications, may not have counted on her day being so packed with visitors. But when an enthusiastic, cheerful group of about 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters showed up at her front door, she was obliged to emerge from her company’s corporate headquarters in midtown Manhattan to hear them out.

The protesters delivered letters printed out from Occupy the Boardroom—personal tales of hardship left on the Web site by everyday Americans who just want to make their voices heard—and Bell gave organizers her Twitter handle, @shannonbellciti. Within moments, Bell had left a public statement: “We are committed to maintaining an open dialogue with our customers and the communities we serve. We will carefully review the letters and follow up with our customers as needed.”...

Mark McNeal, of Redding, Pennsylvania, has been locked out of his steel job at Hofmann Industries for nearly seven months. “They hire scabs, they want to get rid of the unions, so they hire other people and lock us out. They say we can’t get get back unless we cut our pay in half, and they want us to pay a lot of other things like health insurance,” he said. “There are people who support a family of four who are getting $100 a week, they want us to work for that and scabs are making more money than they want to pay us. And they’re getting away with it because the laws protect them instead of us. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We came here to voice our opinion.”

As the march headed toward JPMorgan Chase, on East 48th and Park Avenue, the crowd chanted, “They got bailed out, we got sold out!” Some marchers carrying union signs substituted “sold out” with “locked out.”

Today in Cairo, Egyptians marched in solidarity with the victims of brutality at Occupy Oakland. A photograph of Egyptian marchers linked from Helmy’s Facebook page shows a man carrying a sign reading, “The same goal.”

Said Helmy, “I want Americans to feel connected with us and focus on the situations around them, not just in America. It’s the same systems, the same industrialists, the same complex. If you’re fighting, we should just fight together.”

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