Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Returns to Union Square

Photo: Julia Reinhart
Welcome drummers and clowns and street performers of all varieties - and yes, real activists and protesters too. And with the six month anniversary for OWS on March 17th at Zuccotti park, Occupy was back in business - until the cops kicked them out again on that Saturday night. The Raw Story covers things here with police violence marking the otherwise peaceful protests and bringing back to mind the government oppression of the last days at Zuccotti Park. And so after a full day on the 17th I left at midnight, only to see the protesters physically removed later on TimCast's livestream and an OWS move to Union Square. 

Capt. Ray Lewis
Monday I arrived at Union Square to a more than festive atmosphere. It was like the police had given OWS a gift - a new park to haunt. Befuddled park rangers and police tried their best to deal with a morning crowd, much more spirited than they might have been used to, but somehow in their eyes, you could see they were just waiting for word from above to drop the hammer yet one more time on the Occupy movement. Captain Ray Lewis, a retired Philadelphia police officer was there, just as he had been at Zuccotti, and a whole new generation of New Yorkers seemed to delight in the idea that the fun had finally reached their neighborhood. Occupy was back. At least in spirit.

Throughout the week, police presence had increased and on Tuesday night, the ritual of barricading the place, a Zuccotti staple of American freedom, had returned. But this time, it was the police barricading themselves into a small portion of the park and forcing the protesters onto the sidewalk, a legal sleeping area in NYC, to look back on the cops and taunt them from the outside. A video of protesters "Cop fishing" with a donut shows the Occupy movement has still not lost its sense of humour. Later in the week, I designed the logo above, based on the idea that people were trying to Trademark the Occupy Wall Street concept but didn't have a logo. I thought this solved the problem nicely - to sort of occupy the legal concept of owning intellectual property. It seems things will just get more interesting as this American spring gets under way.

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