AFP Staffer Ignites Federal Reserve Protest

By Dave Gahary

As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, which began Sept. 17 in Manhattan, spreads rapidly across the globe, a small protest broke out in Washington, D.C. in front of the privately owned “Federal Reserve.” Those in attendance were attempting to draw attention to an issue that many consider far more important than how corporations influence politicians to the detriment of average citizens, which is a main complaint of the OWS movement.

While the “End the Fed” protests in Washington, D.C. first started in 2008, AFP’S bookstore director, Olga Belinskaya, played an integral part in restarting it on Oct. 9 of this year, connecting it with the OWS movement.

Miss Belinskaya was photographed in front of the Fed lighting a $20 Federal Reserve Bank note on fire. After her point had been made, three others spontaneously joined her in the “Burn the FRN” protest. It is not yet widely known, but every Fed note actually represents debt, on which Americans must pay interest to the private bank.

During an Oct. 14 interview with AFP, Miss Belinskaya discussed how the protest unfolded in what might be called “Occupy the Fed.”


“A group of Occupy DC people from Freedom Plaza had some banners that said ‘Audit the Fed,’ ‘End the Fed’ and ‘The Fed Owns Obama.’ So, we took a megaphone and called a bunch of people to walk over to the Fed with us,” she explained.

“We got a group of about 60 people,” she continued, “and we walked together for probably 40 minutes, and everybody was really pumped up. When we finally arrived at the Federal Reserve, I went over to a guy with a megaphone and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you use it to call a bunch of people over so we can burn some money?’ He did, and three people came over, and we all, very quickly, without any planning, took a lighter to [the bills]. It turned out that half the people in the crowd were either journalists or had cameras. They took pictures, and one happened to be an AP reporter. So, he released it.”

The photo of burning debt money quickly spread across the Internet and found its way into The Kuwait Daily, among other publications.

AFP asked Miss Belinskaya whether people should be paying attention to the Federal Reserve. “Yes, because that’s where the money comes from, a private corporation that prints money,” she said. “That’s their product. I would encourage more people to burn their money, even if you just burn it in your backyard or on the street. Just do it for yourself.”

Do you recommend any particular denomination, asked AFP? “I know $20 is a lot of money,” she said. “Maybe not to bankers but it certainly is to me. If you burn a $20 instead of spending it, then it clearly shows that the world didn’t stop. I’m the same person as before. It’s an artificial tool used by bankers to control us, and it doesn’t have to make or break the circumstances. I knew that before, but watching it turn into ash just gives it more weight in my mind.”