Protesters Gather To ‘Occupy Wall Street’ After Robinhood Stops People Buying GameStop Shares
Protesters have harkened back to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement after trading platform Robinhood stopped people buying GameStop shares.
Robinhood has been subject to widespread criticism after it announced on Thursday, January 28, that it was restricting trading on GameStop stock. The move came after the stock garnered widespread support from Reddit users, who invested in the company and sent the market into chaos.
The restrictions led to calls of hypocrisy regarding the so-called ‘free market’, and resulted in a class action lawsuit being filed against Robinhood.
As well as expressing their anger online, some protesters decided to take to the streets:
Footage taken from outside the New York Stock Exchange shows a number of protestors chanting and holding letters which together spell ‘Tax Wall Street Trades’.
The protest is reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in September 2011 following the financial crisis in the US.
Demonstrators gathered for weeks on end in Zuccotti Park, in Manhattan’s financial district, to protest extreme equality before eventually breaking down into variety of focussed causes.
Other videos taken in New York City this week show protestors demanding that Robinhood has ‘got to go’, with one demonstrator holding a sign reading ‘Robincrook’. Enraged amateur traders have also gathered outside Robinhood’s headquarters in California to protest their actions.
One hedge fund manager spoke to The Financial Times about the power that Redditors have managed to gain over professional traders, saying: ‘The biggest fund in the world now is [subreddit] wallstreetbets in terms of its ability to move markets. They are super confident and they use leverage. They are the big swinging d*ck in the room.’
Reddit users have made clear their intentions to hunt hedge fund scalps, who take small profits on a trade before trading large or frequent amounts to magnify profits.
One video shared on the platform showed an amateur trader declaring that aggressive stock-trading strategies are what happen ‘when you cross an entire generation raised during a never-ending recession with an app that lets you gamble for a shot at never having to worry about rent money ever again.’
In a bid to further protest the hold over the free market, the New York Young Republican Club announced plans to ‘re-occupy Wall Street’ in a protest at Zuccotti Park on Sunday, January 31.
Gavin Wax, president of the organisation, commented: ‘We are sick & tired of bailing out the fat cats and hedge funds for their own mistakes while they stomp on the little guy for trying to make a buck. This is not capitalism.’
In the wake of the backlash, Robinhood attempted to defend itself by describing the restriction on trading as a ‘risk-management decision.’
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CreditsThe Financial Times
The Financial Times