Live Blog: Day of Action November 17, 2011
By:[ Andrew Rice] Update, 8:55 p.m.: According to the speaker at General Assembly, approximately 99 workers and councilmen sat down in front of a bridge and were arrested around 6 p.m. today. They are still currently held on a bus in queens. On December 10th, Human Rights Day, they will be marching to the United Nations. Update, 8:52 p.m.: The speaker at General Assembly is saying that in Occupy D.C. there was a house built on Pennsylvania avenue for Occupy. It is 4 blocks away from the white house. On Sunday at the Brooklyn General Assembly, they're casting a march to evict Mayor Bloomberg. Tomorrow at Atlantic Terminal, there will be protests at Noon. Also tomorrow, there will be a rally at Foley to protest the NYPD and the racial profiling of Muslims. Update, 8:41 p.m.: I'm currently in front of Brooklyn World War II memorial. "Mic Check" is happening at General Assembly so everyone can hear. First speaker said they were upset with city officials about what happened earlier in the week Zuccotti Park (or as they call it Liberty Park). Next up is "Occupy The Bronx." Today 50 protesters gathered on the grand concourse and held up the 4 train, so people could hear their stories. Train goers joined them on their way to Foley Square, so they considered the subway takeover a success. Next speaker up said that the city was mistaken in thinking that the movement needed a park to thrive because they're organized and won't be stopped. Update, 8:28 p.m.: Solid mass of people on the Brooklyn bridge with no breaks. They were shouting that they're 32,000 strong. Cadman Plaza Park is where I am now. General assembly is on. There is a crowd of people greeting marchers from across the street. Only a few hundred, most people are leaving. Update, 8:16 p.m.: Protesters are now chanting open the iron gate at police manning barricades barring them from entrance into Brooklyn. Cop tells everyone to be careful and walk to the park next to the bridge for a staging area. He tells protesters that they're [the police] part of the 99% and people shout back, "nice cop!" Update, 8:10 p.m.: The march has slowed to a standstill as NYPD are holding up the end of the bike line. Hundreds chant, "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out." Update, 8:00 p.m.: Just made it to the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Update, 7:45 p.m.: Among the peaceful protesters is Jason slack, 40, a British carpenter living in Jersey City. "What's going on here is amazing, I wouldn't have missed this for the world. It's a great start and in the spring, great things are to come!" He exclaims. Update, 7:35 p.m.: Crowds congregate on the bridge calling for drivers to stop their cars. Some drivers do so, but many more honk their horns solidarity. Cops are suspiciously absent from the bridge. Update, 7:25 p.m.: On the Brooklyn Bridge, people in unitedny.org t-shirts are holding hands in a barrier to protect protesters against potential violence from cops. Update, 7:15 p.m.: I'm by the Brooklyn Bridge at Lafayette Street. There are caution signs that are lit up saying that pedestrians on the roadway will be arrested. Uniformed NYPD are restricting access on the surrounding streets, while officers standing in pickup trucks shout from megaphones to remind them to stay on walkways. Protesters are herded onto sidewalks and the walkway of the bridge. Update, 6:45-7:10 p.m.: I've been gridlocked at Read and Lafayette streets. There's no movement at all around me. Update, 6:45 p.m.: Word has carried down the line that the first protesters have reached Brooklyn Bridge, invigorating the crowd. Spotlights shine on 2 Lafayette and court houses. People are chanting, "we are the 99% and we occupy together." Update, 6:30 p.m.: Protesters march to the cadence of "March March March" as they're flanked by police in riot gear. Reverend Powell shouts the people's right to peaceful protest. Update, 6:15 p.m.: "Whose streets? Our streets!" Thousands are now present in Foley Square. They shout that nonviolent protests are creativity. Now protesters are urged to take to the streets and march on the Brooklyn Bridge. The National Lawyer's Union announced their Pro-Bono aid, while many people don goggles to protect against pepper spray and write the NLU's telephone number on their arms. Update, 5:45 p.m.: The New School announces that they're now occupied. The president of the university welcomes all protestors to go there. Members of the UAW and the teamsters protest as a mass on the corner of Lafayette and Worth Streets in front of Federal Plaza. Update, 5:15 p.m.: Speakers begin to take the stage to tell their story, urging protesters to exile Chase bank out of Manhattan because of unfair lending practices. Meanwhile congestion piles up as hundreds more join the protesters in the square. Update, 5:00 p.m.: There's well over 1,00 people here in Foley Square. Entertainers have started playing and "Occupy Wall Street, All Day, All Week" chant resounds from speakers set up throughout the square. Ellen and Angela, 48, are teachers protesting on behalf of public education. They accuse United Federation of Teachers of not doing anything to protect its members or even attempting to stop the privatization of the educational system in America. "They're a lot of talk but they don't have any, shall we say, guts." Angela explains. Her colleague, Ellen, adds that "with tonight's protests we hope to legitimize this and make it a real movement that can influence those elected to office, end the current agenda, and get corporatism out of politics." Update, 4:40 p.m.: As a marching band parades around Foley Square, David Suker, a bronx born 2 year army veteran, hands out copies of the 'Occupy Wall Street Journal' to people walking by. During the march tonight he hopes that "we shut the city down, shut the Brooklyn bridge down, and a thousand of us get arrested so we can show our determination to our cause." Elsewhere members of occupyny.org hand out leaflets. Teachers from the United Federation teachers hand out posters, hats, ponchos and glow sticks to protestors to help them through the damp night. A man, who only wishes to be identified as Walter, has taught for the board of education for 30 years says, "It's a good thing, a great thing. We're speaking of a situation that encompasses everyone." Update, 4:25 p.m.: Police have started to set up barricades around Foley Square and the blocks surrounding Chambers Street to City Hall. Entrances to places such as the Tweed Court House are staffed by cops in riot gear behind sawhorses and metal fences. Foley Square itself is packed with hundreds of protestors waving signs admist the sounds of beating drums. Update, 3:45 p.m.: Police start escorting protesters out of Zuccotti park who are carrying large bags and backpacks. Protesters are undeterred. A worker for the pprivate park, who chose to remain anonymous, said that security and the police are there to make sure that there isn't another encampment. Police officers themselves have refused to comment. 'Uncle Bob' Griffen, 53, who used to run the fregan kitchen 'Chow Hounds' in the park says, "They're trying to control what we're doing and where we can go, but they can't deny our power to affect the system through non violent protest." First Post, 3:30 p.m.: Preparing for protests the NYPD has massed en force. They've cordoned off the streets surrounding the New York Stock Exchange. Entrances to New Street and exchange place are blocked off by cops decked out in riot gear. Few people are allowed to walk through with the police demanding to see iDs and their destinations. There are roughly 200 people in Zucotti park now. Protesters come from all walks of life. Joanne Fioriito, 56, is a navy veteran on her third visit here. Coming from Tuckhannock, PA, she says that "We're all here for different reasons. People's greed is affecting everyone in some way. At home we have to deal with hydrofraking which is poisoning are water for money."
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