Photo: Robert Johnson — Business Insider
They were gone but not forgotten, and now they’re back but not the same.Since we last attended an Occupy Wall Street march, things have heated up for the group. On St. Patrick’s day 73 protesters were arrested as they held a celebratory demonstration around and in Zuccotti Park to mark their 6 month anniversary.
By now, though, that’s old news. The new stuff is this — Occupy Wall Street has moved to Union Square. Passersby can see the Occupy Wall Street banner is up on the south side of the park, but the protesters have no plans to pitch tents because they’re too hard to move in a pinch — and the police are ready to pinch.
OK, so there’s no camp, but Occupy Wall Streeters say they want to maintain a presence in a public space so they can interact with people.
Amy, an Occupier who declined to give her last name, told us they chose the spot because “it’s a place of inclusiveness where New Yorkers come together.”
Perhaps it is — but that doesn’t mean Mayor Bloomberg wants them there. “You want to get arrested, we’ll accommodate you,” he said of protests this weekend. And it certainly seems like both the NYPD and the protesters are aware that the stakes are higher this time around. When Business Insider was in Union Square last night around 11:00 pm, dozens of protesters were getting ready to get some shut eye on the south side of the park, and they weren’t alone. Multiple police vans and motorcycles were parked around the park’s perimeter as well. On Twitter, Occupiers were trading information about police locations.
When we went back this to the park this afternoon there were fewer protesters. In the daylight, everything seemed calm at first, but tensions rose when police asked the protesters to move so parts of the park could be cleaned.
Yelling started. The protesters got upset, the cops stood their ground, and the occupiers briefly moved their things to another section of the park. That seems like a snapshot of the new normal, and maybe that’s OK for now, but we’re wondering what will happen if more protesters decide to show up.