Protesters Descend on Wall Street: 'We Want a Free Market'

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Posted: Jan 28, 2021 8:25 PM
Protesters Descend on Wall Street: 'We Want a Free Market'

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Protesters descended on Wall Street on Thursday amid the ongoing populist revolt over the stock price of GameStop. A trading app known as Robinhood banned investors from trading stocks of GameStop and other companies popularized by users of the social media site Reddit. 

On Thursday, the group of a few dozen protesters confronted workers on Wall Street, the New York Post reported. Protesters held signs the read "Tax Wall Street Trades" and chanted "We want a free market!"

The protest comes after Reddit users popularized the stocks of GameStop, AMC, and other companies, companies that well-connected hedge fund managers had placed large bets against. The sudden interest in the stocks drove the price of the stocks up, which in turn pressured hedge fund managers to cover their unsecured positions by purchasing stocks at increasingly higher prices. The increasingly higher prices means increasingly higher losses for hedge funds, losses now measured in the billions.

The populist outrage directed at elites on Wall Street is drawing support from individuals across the political spectrum. 

On Thursday, "Progressive" squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called for an investigation into Robinhood's ban on trades.

"We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit," the congresswoman said in a tweet.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, announced plans to launch an investigation, pointing to Wall Street's history of "predatory conduct" when it comes to hedge funds and short selling. The Senate is similarly planning to hold an investigation. 

Tesla founder Elon Musk denounced the practice of short selling by hedge funds, and radio host Rush Limbaugh made comparisons between the populist revolt on Wall Street and President Trump's battles with the deep state. 

"You know, everything is rigged in favor of the elites, and this has come along and upset that rigging," Limbaugh told listeners on Thursday. 

The radio host said he hopes the moment will be a teachable one for those who didn't know the power of the elites goes far beyond censoring and canceling dissenting political opponents.  

The Robinhood app says it will allow limited purchases of the banned stocks during trading hours on Friday.