A Huge Crowd Just Mobbed The New York Senators' Offices To Protest SOPA

alexis ohanian protest

Photo: Business Insider / Matthew Lynley

Along with a ton of websites going dark in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP Act (PIPA), tech communities around the world started protests against the bill.New York was no exception, with hundreds of tech geeks showing up to show their disdain for the bills. They rallied outside the offices of New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to convince them to stop supporting the bill.

To some extent, the bills are vague and could promote online censorship — and kill a lot of startups in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley.

And it’s pissed off a lot of people.

We took a trip to the protests. Here’s what we saw.

We'll be heading up the 6 train to Grand Central terminal.

Down we go...

Hop the turnstile and head up the line four stops.

Now we're getting somewhere. See the signs in the distance?

The protest is on Third Avenue between East 48th and East 49th streets.

Whoa! Tons of people. This guy was running through the crowd with his sign.

This was the target building for the protest.

Somewhere in that huge building are Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The protest was pretty tame, police officers said. They still had to close lanes on the street, though.

People were pretty unhappy about the bill — and weren't afraid to show it on signs.

Some were a little more civil. This guy is a developer who took his lunch break off to come protest.

Most startups and tech companies gave their employees time off to come out and protest if they wanted to do so.

Here's a sign of Charles Schumer, one of the targets of the protest.

This guy's another developer at a New York startup. He thought it'd be funny to make fun of how congress people really don't understand the Internet.

The guys from Meetup.com were running the protest.

Let's make our way to the front, shall we?

Dang, there are a lot of people in the way.

More than 75% of them are developers. They're all self-proclaimed nerds, including the guy holding this QR code as a sign — it links to a video explaining SOPA.

Almost there...

Made It! And look who it is — Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit. He's quite the orator and he's basically the face of the SOPA protests now. Not sure if it's worth turning around...

...yeah, definitely a lot of people. Some startups were using it as a way to get some promotion for their apps.

Here's Betaworks' Antonia Abraham, talking about how important it is for there to be a place for companies to build on top.

Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures was also there, talking about how the movie industry leading the charge behind SOPA was treating everyone as a customer instead of a user — like Internet companies do.

Here's Eli Pariser of MoveOn.org, who's also leading the charge behind the protest. He's talking about how MoveOn.org would have never happened with SOPA in place.

Sarah Chipps runs a company that teaches girls to code — not that anyone would want to do that if there aren't fun companies to work at that need coders. With SOPA, there might not be so many. Also, is that Brad Feld in the back left?

It is! Brad Feld of Foundry Capital made it out for the protest. He told me he was in town from Colorado on business and decided to stop by.

Tim Carr of Freepress was there, talking about how awesome it was that everyone came out to protest the bills. By the way — the senators had disconnected their phones, he said.

Here's David Salomonoff, who said the bills were monsters that would keep coming back — even if they were shelved. This guy is the president of Internet Society.

After it was over, the press swarmed Alexis Ohanian. He's pretty much become the face of the protests, with Reddit helping lead the charge.

Time to force our way out of here...

...almost there...

...safe! Except we were nearly run over by that mail truck. We're done here.

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