Mayor Mike Bloomberg had a hastily-scheduled press conference at Bellevue Hospital to alert New Yorkers about some police officers who were injured during Occupy Wall Street’s Day of Action today, and he stressed that the protesters had so far failed in their efforts to disrupt the business of the city.
“Occupy Wall Street had predicted on their website they’d have tens tens of thousands of people at this protest, so far there have been far fewer,” he told reporters. “So far they have caused what could accurately be described as minimal disruption to the city. The Stock Exchange opened on time as you’d expect, and the rest of the city it has been business as usual.”
Yesterday, Bloomberg officials warned the city that they were preparing for tens of thousands of protesters to converge on the city. They didn’t say where they got the information from, but from a messaging standpoint, it makes sense to inflate the expected totals of protesters in order to make the ultimate turnout seem like a disappointment.
At the brief presser at Bellevue, the mayor seemed to be telling front-page editors how to handle the coverage tomorrow.
“The real story for tomorrow mornings paper is that there were just not that many people out there,” he said. “Most people expressed themselves and then went back about their business.”
Mr. Bloomberg couldn’t give an exact figure, but did say that by their estimates less than 1,000 people were protesting.
“It really doesn’t matter,” the mayor added. “It is not an overwhelming number. The police were able to handle it. Most people were able to go about their business and I would expect the protest for the rest of the day to be pretty much the same thing.”
The mayor’s comments though do not entirely square with the reality on the ground. Nearly 200 people have been arrested, and streets have been clogged with protesters. Even as the mayor spoke, police and news helicopters flew overhead. And, of course, the day is far from done.
With reporting from Drew Grant.
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