This Is What It Was Like When Protesters Took Over The Brooklyn Bridge

foley square, ows, occupy wall street, national day of action, protest, november 17 2011, bi, dng

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Yesterday’s heady Occupy Wall Street National Day of Action came to a close with a march from Foley Square to Brooklyn bridge where a trail of thousands spread for almost a mile. The demonstration was ripe for controversey and media coverage, but there was little of both. In fact, it was extremely peaceful, organised, and well planned.Certainly, the night was a big change from the tense morning activities, the marches throughout the city, and the violence that erupted at Zuccotti Park

The Foley Square rally started at 5:00 PM and wasn’t only attended by the hard core OWSers, those who were living or spending most of their time in Zuccotti Park. It was organised with much assistance from 1199SEIU a Health Workers Union and was mostly made up of the larger and growing support network that identifies with the movement.

Among speakers and organisers there were also a number of familiar faces from Zuccotti Park regulars. These individuals seem to be taking on leadership positions, whether or not they have been actively trying to do so.

There were also more elderly and very young people there. Musicians, clergy, a union singing group, and even highschoolers got up to use the mic and tell their stories. It was a refreshing change from the more aggressive actions earlier in the day.

It was also an opportunity for specific grievances to be aired and signs and speakers bore this out. Demands to improve healthcare and education where high on the list.

Naturally, we were there, as was Gene Taylor, whose photos of the protest have graced our site before. He has kindly allowed us to use his pictures again. You can see more of his work here.

Around 32,500 people joined us in the park. It was a strong show of force by protesters, a reasoned, well prepared, and smoothly executed police response, and a successful demonstration with a big turnout. There was plenty of space for OWS to express itself and they did. With popular support growing, now, more than ever, it will be important to see what the OWS movement has to say and for its members to consider what they want to say.

On the way down, by Union Square we saw helicopters flying low. We counted 6 in the air during the rally.

Members of 1199 SEIU were directing people to Foley Square.

The crowd was huge.

With plenty of familiar costumes and antics.

On our way to the front we encountered a small group meeting.

And these protesters set up around the centre.

People of all ages and backgrounds showed up.

Shirt vendors were there, there is definitely a growing number of these.

There was a hip hop group playing.

With political lyrics, and calls for raised hands.

And there were in response.

Speakers took the mic, from unions, churches, advocacy groups, and even a middle school student.

This mural says it all: The protesters think everyone is corrupt.

Of course, there were classic Occupy Wall Street signs.

We were in the park for about 40 minutes before the march started.

People were everywhere, some joined after the rally coming from all directions.

They were headed here, for the Brooklyn Bridge.

And the police were everywhere.

Last time protesters got on the bridge, they blocked traffic and around 700 were arrested.

So this time the police were everywhere — in subways.

On horses.

Driving vans.

And riding motorcycles (also using them to lock-in the protest path).

The NYPD remained calm, but there was some scrambling.

And in the end, they made sure the path was safe

And watched as the protesters took to the bridge. Around 2 dozen were arrested for sitting on the bridge.

Other than that, it was like this never happened.

If you're wondering who was there, this should help you.

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