As the debate over financial reform moves to the Senate floor, labor leaders and community groups took their message straight to Wall Street Thursday with a massive rally in Lower Manhattan.
Thousands took part in the march, demanding that big banks be held accountable for their role in the financial crisis.
"We want the big guys to stop taking all of our money and help us little people get jobs," said one protestor.
"I think the banks are the reason that we're picking up the tab for the mistakes that the banks made," said another.
The march was organized by the labor group AFL-CIO whose leaders say the big banks are to blame for the recent financial collapse.
Organizers say part of the reason so many people turned out is to both demand accountability and reform from the banks and to ask that they fix the problems they created.
"We need jobs, we need education, we need fairness for all the people," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
The rally comes as the Senate is set to open debate on a financial reform bill, after Republicans agreed Wednesday to stop blocking the measure from reaching the Senate floor. Senate Republicans now say they will shift their focus toward trying to get changes made to the bill during the debate.
The GOP is taking aim at the magnitude of consumer protections favored by President Barack Obama.
Liberal Democrats are expected to try to limit the size of banks.
Democrats still need at least one Republican vote to overcome procedural hurdles.
Both sides agree the legislation will ultimately pass.
Obama says Wall Street reform should not be a partisan issue, noting that everyone has been hurt by the economic downturn.
The House has already passed its version of the bill.