A group from Occupy Wall Street marched to District Attorney Cy Vance’s office to demand that he open a full investigation into Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona. Officer Cardona punched protester Felix Rivera-Pitre right in the face on Friday right after the occupiers found out Brookfield Properties would not be evicting the occupation from the park for a “forced cleaning.”
I followed the march from Liberty Park to the DA’s office that began at 5 pm ET. Through rush hour traffic, the march headed down the sidewalk north on Broadway. It then snaked its way past the New York Supreme Court building and to 1 Hogan Place.
When the march arrived, throngs of police were surrounding the station. The march tried to make it to the entrance, but a few suits grabbed a barricade and blocked off the sidewalk so the occupiers could not get anywhere near the doorway to the office. Individuals stood up on an orange barrel and spoke to the crowd about incidents of police brutality they had experienced.
As the action came to a conclusion, a lead organizer of the march from VOCAL-New York, which “builds power among people affected by HIV/AIDS, drug use and mass incarceration to create healthy and just communities,” informed the crowd that he had just become aware that New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the area for an event. He asked if the occupiers wanted to go confront Cuomo, who had just cut the millionaires’ tax. Of course, everyone wanted to go confront Cuomo.
An unplanned march took off through Chinatown to Skylight Soho at Dominick & Hudson in West Village, where a Huffington Post awards event was taking place. Cuomo was to receive the “Game Changer of the Year” award.
The march went over and in about 5-10 minutes police had the group surrounded on the sidewalk. They had motorcycles and a white-shirted officer got on a megaphone to give a warning to leave the sidewalk or they would be arrested. My phone was dying so I took a quick video and sent out what I was seeing.
Protesters were on their toes and moved so pedestrians could pass. No longer were they blocking the sidewalk. So, they couldn’t really be ordered to dispersed anymore. The press was moved. Lines were drawn where people needed to stand and the police were ordering people around. Then, Naomi Wolf showed up (author of The End of America). She told the protesters they don’t need a permit for a megaphone. She offered to take a question in and try and confront Cuomo. The 99 Percenters were excited to have the opportunity but everything became crazy as they could not agree what to ask him.
From that point on, this action imploded. They found out the event had a sidewalk permit. The event was enforcing that permit. Unless they moved, arrests would happen. The occupiers were agitated and a few didn’t want to move without seeing the permit. Some got angry at an organizer getting information from an NYPD commander. The group was turning on each other and yelling. It was clear everyone was tired. Someone needed to bring this action to an end with some sort of exclamation point and lead everyone back to Liberty Park.
Alas, the action wore on and they compromised. They all moved across the street to protest. The energy was gone. There was no reason for people to still be demonstrating. The point was lost because police motorcycles, police vans and more than 100 police were there babysitting the group.
I left the scene. One hour later, I started seeing updates on Twitter: Naomi Wolf had been arrested. According to Democracy Now!‘s Ryan Devereaux, the protesters thought they could move back over and march in a single-file line in front of Skylight Soho. They ended up over there and Wolf joined the occupiers. Then, the officer informed the people in the area they would be arrested for being on the sidewalk. Wolf was loaded into a police van. It seems the protesters were able to disperse and escape arrest.
Interestingly, I think Wolf would have been the only one who shouldn’t have been arrested. She was on the list for the event. She went in and came back out. She could be on the sidewalk. The permit covered her presence in front of Skylight. But, she was arrested.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues. It’s rainy at Occupy Wall Street so I expect the action and new developments to be minimal today. There are some interesting actions planned during the next few days: for example, Occupy Central Park and an action to challenge NYPD’s “stop and frisk” procedures. Cornel West is planning to participate in the civil disobedience action that will take place in Harlem on Friday.
12:11 AM We Are Change interview with Alec Baldwin
9:53 PM Paper on traffic to #OWS website finds 91.8% think protests will continue to grow
9:24 PM Washington Post reports Obama has raised “far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate.” He may say he understands Occupy Wall Street but what he really understands is he is getting good money from Wall Street and will have to put Wall Street first to keep the cash flow to his re-election campaign going.
9:22 PM Comedian Russell Brand visits Occupy Wall Street.
And, yesterday, just before midnight, Alec Baldwin visited. Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for celebrities.
9:20 PM A collection of political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street
9:17 PM Personal Democracy Forum co-founder Micah Sifry on Occupy Wall Street and why it took off when The Other 98%, US Uncut and Rebuild the Dream didn’t and have not. Sifry writes:
Unlike these other well-intentioned attempts by American progressives to organize public attention on the issues of economic justice and democracy, Occupy Wall Street isn’t slick. It isn’t focus-grouped. It isn’t something professional activists would do. Instead, it feels authentic. The scene at Zuccotti Park, the videos of those women being pepper-sprayed, and of young people being arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, calmly offering their crossed-hands to police officers, reek of authenticity. And social media knows the difference.
8:30 PM The Dissenter is no longer at Occupy Wall Street. I am now at #OccupyMyChicagoApartment for a few days. I will be checking in on Occupy Chicago. Plus, FDL will be preparing a schedule for a tour that I would like to see last for at least two weeks.
What cities do you think I should be visiting?
8:28 PM Now, speaker at Occupy Wall Street General Assembly is warning occupiers about being co-opted by the Democratic Party. The speaker is talking about what Republicans did to the Tea Party. (via @ANIMALNewYork)
8:27 PM Occupy New Hampshire is facing an eviction at 11 pm tonight. Police intend to raid camp if the occupiers do not disperse from the area they are occupying. (I think they are in Veterans Memorial Park.)
8:25 PM Bloomberg editors aren’t buying Big Banks’ objections to Volcker rule that is supposed to “bar insured banks from making speculative bets for their own account”
8:22 PM Boom Tron blog reports there is a possibility Occupy Wall Street protests could make a cameo appearance in third Batman movie directed by Christopher Nolan.
2:32 PM Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in Greece today. New austerity measures being passed. Clashes with police.
2:20 PM Occupy Sydney is first occupation to endorse Adbusters‘ idea for a Robin Hood Global March.
2:19 PM Naomi Wolf posts her account of her arrest.