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