Occupy Wall Street day 19: many friends arrive


Supporters of Occupy Wall Street [OWS; Twitter #OWS], including unions, community groups and students, arranged for a "permitted" assembly in Foley Square on Wednesday to be followed by a "permitted" march to Liberty Park. Meanwhile at Liberty Park itself the people who were a part of or identified with Occupy Wall Street were to assemble around 3 o'clock in the no-longer-quite-so-small village which has sprung up in the former Zuccotti Park and then march north to join them at 4:30 in the huge courthouse square. That march did not have a permit, and no application had been made for one. In the absurd, antidemocratic mind of the New York City Police Department it was "illegal" to go uptown, but "legal" to come back, or so it would have seemed until that evening.

The crowd was extraordinarily diverse, high-spirited, and intense in its focus on resistance to the preposterous structure of greed and corruption which has wiped out the U.S. economy and any remaining vestiges of responsible government - at any level. The day proceded without incident until some 15,000 protesters arrived in the Wall Street area. Liberty Park and the surrounding streets were unable to contain the numbers, and when some of the marchers attempted to walk east from Broadway down Wall Street itself, a police brawl erupted, with white-shirted officers once again leading the assault with batons and mace. This time at least one NYPD "suit" also got into the act.

There were 28 arrests, and I think it's safe to say that none of them were bankers or politicians.

Since I had left the site by 7pm, this photo essay is able to document only the happier part of the day, before the NYPD's fetish for protecting the streets of New York from its people had shown its ugliest side.

For the record however, Wall Street and the blocks on Broad Street near the Stock Exchange have been closed to vehicle traffic since 9/11, and, subject to the whim of the NYPD, suspicious pedestrians as well. Stagy vehicle barriers ensure the safety of the bankers and brokers from truck bombs, but to combat the threat to the monied sort posed by the protesters of Occupy Wall Street the police had to unsheathe batons and mace.

Don't the cops know that getting to Wall Street is an American dream?

The first two pictures in the series below show the march the NYPD had not permitted going up Broadway while confined to a sidewalk whose width, already reduced by "street furniture", was further diminished by layers of redundant steel police barricades whose footings presented a tripping hazard to people crushed together and unable to see where they were walking. The portion of the road normally reserved for several lanes of vehicles had been narrowed to one, the remainder taken over by stationary police cars and vans, police scooters, and police pedestrians, all elements as unnecessary as they were expensive.

The other images, which until near the end are of the Occupy Wall Street marchers, speak for themselves.