A familiar story: protesters from Occupy Wall Street marched last night. This time the march, announced to us via text message earlier in the afternoon, was to be in solidarity with Occupy Oakland. Occupy Oakland protesters were evicted from their park this week and later teargassed by police when they tried to return. The pictures looks like war photography.
Last night’s march didn’t turn nearly as violent, though at times it seemed like the protesters were pushing for an Oakland-style confrontation.
Marchers set off from Zuccotti Park around 9 p.m., wrapping around the park and then going north to City Hall. In spite of the resolution recently passed by Community Board 1 limiting drumming hours, the drummers came out in full force, as well as a bagpiper. The mood was more tense than usual; marchers moved faster, sometimes breaking into a run, the chanting was louder, and we heard multiple protesters yelling some variation of “Fuck the pigs!”
Scattered protesters would shout “Take the streets!” and from time to time, the march did spill over into the streets. The police arrested at least 10 people over the course of the night. We saw four people pile into a police van, one of whom looked dazed and had a dinged-up face.
The march circled all the way around City Hall Park and the first notable confrontation with cops happened at Reade and Broadway, where a scrum developed around an arrest being made. There were far more people with cameras and other onlookers than there were people involved in the arrest. We saw a nightstick going up and down but the mass of bodies prevented us from getting a look at exactly what was happening. At that point, the police brought out their kettling nets and splintered the crowd from one large group into separate smaller groups. After that, the march never achieved the same critical mass as it roamed Lower Manhattan.
Our group walked north up Broadway, more slowly than before. The drummers were gone. Protesters chanted “Oakland! Oakland!” over and over again.
Apparently things got a bit rowdier with the northernmost group, which made it to Bleecker Street while we were still in SoHo.
We had to leave around 10:30. But according to Chris Robbins at Gothamist, the marchers continued to Union Square and met a large police presence there. But by then, it seems like things had calmed down quite a bit, never approaching chaos of Oakland proportions. The protesters returned to Zuccotti Park without incident.