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Alondra Plascencia,8, on left, Almendra Plascencia, 6, holds up sign as they participate in Posada rally of San Jose Occupy with Most Holy Trinity and People Acting in Community Together at San Jose Micro Branch Credit Union in East San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, December 18, 2011. (Josie Lepe/Mercury News Staff)

Occupy San Jose is back -- at least with a handful of tents.

Once again local members of the national protest against corporate greed have erected a fabric outpost on the San Jose City Hall plaza after being forced by police to leave that encampment in mid-November.

The Occupiers say they won't go inside the tents during the day and that the three tents stand as a symbolic protest as the movement continues. The members also note that they will take down the tents daily by 11 p.m.

But on Sunday, exasperated city officials said the tents are still a no-no.

"City rules define tents as part of camping," which is not allowed on the plaza, said Tom Manheim, the city manager's spokesman. "We will continue to enforce our rules as resources allow."

Last week, the city offered to drop all civil charges against Occupy San Jose members since Oct. 2 -- when the group started its local outpost -- if they agree to not set up tents on the plaza for the next two years.

But the return of the tents, under new conditions that Occupy member Shaunn Cartwright said was reviewed by the group's own lawyers, proves that "we found a way to work outside and within the system at the exact same time."

Never stopped

The move also was done in allegiance with an effort on Saturday by other Occupy groups nationwide to celebrate the three-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York City, said Occupy member Pablo Ghenis.

Cartwright, Ghenis and others said that just because the group's tents were removed from the City Hall plaza last month doesn't mean that Occupy San Jose members haven't been actively representing the "99 percent'' of society struggling in the down economy.

The group, for example, still holds its twice-weekly general assemblies and its weekly "Financial Friday" marches to San Jose banks in an effort to shame banks about pursuing foreclosures on homeowners.

"We've never gone anywhere -- we're still doing these actions," Cartwright said of the protests, including Sunday's afternoon march that began in San Jose at the Bank of America branch near Story and King roads and ended at the Micro Branch credit union -- an institution supported by protesters who want people to move their money to community banks or credit unions.

The march, done in conjunction with the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and People Acting In Community Together, a multiethnic interfaith organization that champions social justice issues, was a posada.

Traditional journey

The posada is the Mexican tradition of re-enacting the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem as they asked for shelter.

While the re-enactment typically travels from home to home, Sunday's posada went from bank to bank in an effort to "lift up the plight of families who are struggling with banks to keep their homes,'' according to the protesters.

The march was particularly meaningful to San Jose resident David Ledesma, who told a group of about three dozen people gathered at the Bank of America that his 89-year-old father is in the process of losing his home because of a variable interest rate loan his father and his father's wife mistakenly signed with Countrywide Financial, which was purchased in 2008 by Bank of America.

"The math and logic of a banking institution to coerce borrowers into believing applying for such a loan was a good idea was beyond the scope and understanding of two senior citizens,'' Ledesma, 58, told the crowd.

The son said he would like Bank of America to help his father and renegotiate the loan, but so far talks between the sides have foundered.

"My father's original American dream,'' he said, "has turned into an American nightmare.''

Contact Tracy Seipel at 408 275-0140.

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