POSTED BY NOWHERE MAN
With the continuation of the two longest and unnecessary wars in our nation's history, our jobs being shipped overseas, the so called Democratic Party becoming the Republican Light Party, the obvious evidence that the banks and Wall Street own our government and with the corporate media refusing to either do it's job or in some cases even understand what it's job is, I was angry and frustrated because the people seemed powerless or unwilling to rise up like we saw in the Arab Spring. But then came "Occupy Wall Street."
I felt so inspired by their guts and determination that last Saturday I went down to lend my voice and support. I didn't see nor was I offered any of the free sex and drugs that Fox News had reported was available, nor did I find any of the anti-semites Rush Limbaugh had said organized the whole thing. What I did find were groups with different agendas ranging from Bronx doctors who wanted health care for all, to Filipinos demanding an end to US imperialism in their country. However, the great majority were there protesting the corporate strangle hold Wall Street and the banks have on our government and the awful consequences being felt by families across the country.
We were to march to Washington Square Park and then uptown to Times Square. We were told that this was a non violent protest and that we were to obey the police orders at all times who for the most part were courteous. As we marched up Broadway we chanted different slogans over and over:
"BANKS GOT BAILED OUT, WE GOT SOLD OUT!"
"MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION NOT FOR WAR AND OCCUPATION!"
"TELL ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE, THIS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!"
"HOW DO WE FIX THE DEFICIT, END THE WAR AND TAX THE RICH!"
"WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT! YOU ARE THE 99 PERCENT!"
"THE PEOPLE UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!"
A lot of people on the streets along with tourists from double decker buses gave us a thumbs up as we chanted "JOIN US! JOIN US!" while others looked confused, wondering what all the fuss was about as the police escorted us along the entire route.
When we got to the park we gathered near the fountain and were told that 23 of had just gotten arrested at a Citicorp Bank on LaGuardia Place for allegedly occupying the bank. Some of us went there chanting "LET THEM GO!" of course to no avail. Before we continued on to Times Square we were given the phone number to the National Lawyers Guild in case we were arrested.
As we continued on to Times Square I felt as empowered as I was in the late 60s when I marched against the Vietnam War. I could overhear conversations of strangers from different parts of the country talking about the mess our country is in and the overwhelming consensus that Eric Cantor is the biggest asshole in Congress. I then received a text from Broadway Carl knowing I was attending the event, who told me to be careful because he had just seen a video* of a white shirted NYPD supervisor punching a woman in the face, knocking her to the ground! I didn't see the incident and the media didn't report it the next day. You would think a video of a police supervisor punching out a woman would be a front page photo and or story, but I digress.
There was no further incident until we got to West 46th Street and Broadway, which is where we were supposed to enter. I was about 200 feet from Broadway when there was a confrontation with police. I later learned that the police had positioned the barricades so that only a trickle of us could get in which produced a bottle neck. Human nature took over so some us pushed the barricade back so we could enter which of course gave the police the provocation they wanted and created, resulting in 45 of us getting arrested and the police picking up the metal barricades and using it to push us back.
So we made our way back to 6th Avenue hoping to get to Broadway via 42nd Street since they had closed access to West 43rd, 44th and 45th. By the time I got there the crowd had dwindled probably recognizing the police were trying to start trouble. Adding to the frustration was the fact that the organizers were not allowed to have loudspeakers or microphones of any kind making it difficult to make speeches or to communicate with one another.
I started for home thinking what jerks the NYPD is failing to realize we were marching for them as well. Maybe they will figure it all out when NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg starts laying them off as well.
*Editor's Note: It seems the initial report of a woman being punched by a Police Supervisor was actually the story of Felix Rivera-Pitre. The NYPD is defending the action by accusing Rivera-Pitre of attempting to elbow Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona in the face, but multiple angles of the incident reveal no such attempt.
More Photos of the day's events from Nowhere Man (clicking on any photo in this post will give you access to original size):
And of course, after the 46th Street confrontation, there was this: