Wednesday, October 5th. 20,000 people gather for a Union rally in support of Occupy Wall Street, fed by a steady stream of students walking out of their colleges and high schools, who took the streets on their own marches to Foley Square. Permitted, the 20,000 were kept off the streets by police barricades, and shuffled slowly down sidewalks crammed with people towards Zuccotti Park. The numbers were incredible, but the march was boring, kind of wack.
A two hour general assembly.
Two snake marches take off from Zuccotti headed into the financial district. One stopped at Wall St. and Broadway, about 400 people milling around Broadway, sitting briefly, yelling at Wall St, then standing up again, working up the courage to try and take it. Someone tried to Mic Check (clearly now a tool of de-escalation, control) but they were drowned out by someone starting a countdown. "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. CHARGE!!!!" People surged forward, and knocked down one barricade. They were immediately met with a cloud of pepper spray. A white shirt, as fat as all of them are, started swinging his baton in a 180° arc, slamming anyone around him, including two reporters who got hit in the gut.
Police helicopters buzzed constantly, the chop chop chop echoing through the canyons of the financial district, making it feel like a war zone.
A pair of kids in goggles clambered on top of a police car and jumped up and down.
A line of about 10 police on vespas drove into a crowd of 70 protesters. Rather than flee, the protesters held their ground, and the police panicked, stepping off their bikes. Protesters began knocking over the bikes, kicking them, fucking up their shit.
Five breakaway marches, six breakaway marches, lines of protesters snaked nervously through the financial district in every direction. I peeled out of one, waited at a corner for friends, only to find another coming from the other direction.
The people's mic is failing in Zuccotti, so people set up projectors displaying 30 foot tall messages on the walls of Men's Warehouse. "Great job guys! These marches look great!"
A cop is caught on camera saying "my little nightstick is gonna get a workout tonight."
The cops beat a man with nightsticks so badly that major hematomas form on his forehead and cheek. As he's being lead into a cop car, he cant focus his eyes.
A group of kids sprint through the streets, followed half a block behind by wheezing fat cops.
The last march, heading back to Zuccotti up Broadway, is about 50 protesters and 60 police.
Back at Zuccotti, the night is relatively peaceful. People eat food, and snuggle up against the cold.
Something is happening in the Financial District, something more than just a General Assembly based sit-in calling itself an occupation. You should be there.