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Engineering junior Lauren Ballester and College junior Dani Castillo protested a recruiting event with Citibank last night. They allege that they were aggressively asked to leave the restaurant where the event was held.

Student protestors, including those from Penn, are alleging that they were harassed at a protest they held on Tuesday night against Citibank.

The three students, who were visibly rattled after leaving the event, allege that the Citibank representatives at the recruiting event and restaurant employees were unexpectedly and unnecessarily aggressive when asking the protesters to leave. They were protesting a Citibank recruitment event hosted for female Wharton MBA students at Amada, a restaurant in Old City.

After distributing flyers to attendees, the protestors kneeled on the floor in the center of the room and held up posters decrying Citibank’s investment in mountaintop removal, a controversial form of coal mining which is prevalent in the Appalachian Mountains. They, along with The Daily Pennsylvanian, were quickly asked to “please leave the area.”

Engineering junior Lauren Ballester and College junior Dani Castillo, both protestors at the event, allege that Citibank and restaurant employees were aggressive and “touched their shoulders” in asking them to leave.

Related: UA passes resolution against mountaintop removal

“[A Citibank representative] was at one point in my face, snarling at me,” Castillo said. “Such a scary woman!”

Swarthmore College senior Anjali Cadambi, another one of the protestors, also said she had a forceful encounter.

“I was walking around the room, and the Citibank representative forcibly pulled me by my camera to the side of the room,” Cadambi said. ”[She] tried to physically remove my camera from me or break it or damage it by twisting the screen and clutching at the lens….”

According to Cadambi, the Citibank representative continued to pull on the camera until she agreed to delete all the photos she had taken at the protest.

Citibank did not immediately have a statement on the incident when reached Tuesday night. A representative from Amada declined to comment as well.

There is a history at Penn of student activists working against mountaintop removal.

Related: Penn renews contract with PNC Bank

During the 2011-2012 school year, Penn Community Against Mountaintop Removal petitioned the university to not renew its contract with PNC bank, which also invests in companies that engage in mountaintop removal.

The University decided to renew the contract but said that due to student concerns they took environmental issues into account when making the decision this time.

Last semester, a recruitment event held by the Boston Consulting Group was canceled because of a planned protest by the Student Labor Action Project. The group was protesting against BCG’s involvement with school closings in the Philadelphia School District.

The Citibank protesters are allied with the Rainforest Action Network, a group which has supported about 50 student protests this semester across the country at the recruiting events of banks such as Citibank and Bank of America — both companies that invest in mountaintop removal mining.

Related: Penn group urges students to withdraw from PNC accounts

“The big banks like Citibank need to recruit the best and the brightest [students]. They need students to believe that they do due diligence about environmentalism and human rights.” Todd Zimmer, a campaigner at RAN, said. “The truth is that Citibank is involved in some of the most egregious environmental and human rights violations in the United States.”

According to Zimmer, Citibank is the largest financier of coal in the United States and the largest funder of mountaintop removal in the world. He said this form of mining causes a variety of environmental and health problems for surrounding communities, including increased risk of cancer and unclean water.

“They need to develop policies to exclude financing from mountaintop removal … or they’re likely to experience protests wherever they go,” he said.

When the student protestors entered the room, one Citibank representative told an event attendee seated next to her, “This is no surprise. They’ve been coming to all of our events.”

Related: PNC talks policy with student protesters

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