After two hours of marching, the crowd was tired of being quiet. Beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, the diverse group of activists silently trudged nearly 30 blocks down 5th avenue, solemnly protesting the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. Nearly 40,000 people came to the protest in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell and other victims of allegedly racist policing practices, according to Derek Turner, a NAACP spokesperson.
Around 5 p.m., the protestors reached 79th street, the planned ending place for the march due to its proximity to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home. Pin-adorned, sign-touting demonstrators began to restlessly pack into the street and sidewalks surrounding the area. No longer pleased with the stubborn quietness of the event, a few anxious protestors began to chant; they were barely audible in such a large crowd. Eventually, two men took over with the assistance of the microphone yelling, “We can’t be silent. We’ve got to fight back. The killer cuffs us. We’ve got to fight back.”
Law & Order
This morning, we wrote about an interview NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the Department’s top spokesman Paul Browne gave to the Queens Chronicle in which Mr. Browne discussed the arrests of reporters following the police raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park.
“Paul Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information, who accompanied Kelly to the interview, added that only one journalist was arrested during the operation, despite stories to the contrary, which he called ‘a total myth,’” Chronicle Editor in Chief Peter C. Mastrosimone wrote.
We noted that this seemed to be a discrepancy with an email Mayor Bloomberg’s top spokesman sent in response to a post on the Awl describing reporters arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street raid in which he acknowledged five reporters with press credentials were arrested.
We reached out to both Mr. Browne and Mr. Loeser to explain why they seemed to be in disagreement. A heated Mr. Loeser called us back to explain that only one reporter was arrested in Zuccotti Park itself while the other reporters were arrested in other areas that day.
“He’s talking about the issue at Zuccotti Park,” Mr. Loeser said of Mr. Browne’s comments. “There’s not a discrepancy.”
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.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Mitt Romney marked the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death by appearing at a Downtown firehouse with his newest backer, Rudy Giuliani. The pair was interrupted by a protester who repeatedly shouted, “Mitt Romney, you’re a racist!”
Mr. Romney initially countered the high volume interruption with a joke.
“I’m sorry I can’t quite hear you,” he said with a smile.
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.”
Law & Order
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration and Resisting Arrest during the NYPD’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park November 15. This morning those charges were dismissed in Manhattan Criminal Court. Though the district attorney’s office claimed they “determined that the officers who were involved in Read More
The Transit Workers Union Local 100 is holding a daylong “reclaim public transit” event tomorrow in conjunction with Occupy Wall Street and the Working Families Party, against the backdrop of their protracted contract negotiationswith the Metropolitan Transit Authority. According to the statement announcing the event, it is designed to “highlight funding and infrastructure needs of public transportation across the nation” and “raise awareness about how public transit supports good jobs, sustainable communities, a greener environment and reduced consumption of oil.” Tomorrow’s event will include a pair of press conferences as well as leafleting and petitions calling on the MTA to “reoccupy” underutilized buildings in Downtown Brooklyn in order to cut costs.