Throughout its nearly eight month existence, Occupy Wall Street has been fueled by the youthful enthusiasm and social media savvy of today’s digitally connected twentysomethings. But the generation that birthed Occupy may also prove to be the movement’s undoing.
In many ways, the story of Occupy Wall Street’s May Day protest yesterday is much more about what didn’t happen than what did. There were no mass arrests or massive traffic disruptions and workers didn’t walk off their jobs en masse. In total, the NYPD said there were “over 50″ Occupy-related arrests yesterday, a far cry from the hundreds of arrests that accompanied previous Occupy actions.
After months of dealing with the protests, the police have clearly adapted to Occupy. Last night, the NYPD managed to clear the crowd that gathered for the May Day finale rally within thirty minutes without the pepper spray and arrests of press and politicans that led to controversy at past protests.
Heck No We Won't Go
Transit Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen doesn’t want members of his union to help the NYPD transport protesters arrested at Occupy Wall Street’s May Day demonstrations. Mr. Samuelsen marched with Occupiers and union members from Union Square to Battery Park this evening and, at the end of the route, he made a speech where he urged transit workers to “resist orders” given by “the screws” to drive buses full of arrested protesters.
Occupy Wall Street’s May Day protests came with promises the city would be “shut down” and fears of massive traffic disruptions and “militant elements” among the many marches. As of noon, we only received reports of a handful of arrests as protesters converged in Bryant Park where the crowd included protest mimes, truants and a staunchly conservative occupier.
Law & Order
An “open source assessment” of Occupy Wall Street’s planned May Day protest produced by the NYPD SHIELD counterterrorism program warns of possible “militant eletments” among the protesters and a variety of “disruptive activities” including “vandalism” and “a blockade of New York City bridges, tunnels, and ferries.” This evening, Twitter accounts affiliated with Occupy Wall Street began sending out the assessment, which was identified as “leaked.”
Paul Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesperson, said the document was “hardly ‘leaked.’”
“This is a summary of stuff the press has reported on all week and that has been disseminated on OWS related sites,” Mr. Browne said. “It was sent on our website used by thousands of security directors for universities, hospitals, corporations, and other employers who are welcome to share it with anyone they want, and who do.”
The Best Laid Plans
Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement have released a schedule of events for their big “general strike” planned for May 1 and it includes, a “meditation flash mob,” a “guitarmy,” a rally featuring the rap group Das Racist and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and an afterparty. The list of planned actions includes both permitted events and protests for which the Occupiers didn’t obtain permission from the City.