Tomorrow, it will be one whole year since a group of anti-corporatist raiders met for the first time in Zuccotti Park and deemed themselves Occupy Wall Street. Since then, the national explosion of 99-versus-1 Percent politics has had its ups and downs – in New York, Bloomberg’s army of police officers shut down the Park in a late night raid but the movement has sprung legs in numerous other cities.
As the movement began to lose the country’s attention, which was slowly shifting towards the election, the original protestors have all but given up, preparing today and tomorrow
for the historic one-year anniversary march back down into the heart of the Financial District. And, already, there have been a few arrests
in the name of celebratory protest.
Yesterday, the activists who were back in town early convened in Washington Square Park – the public space in the West Village that became the outpost
once Zuccotti had fallen. The Daily News estimated that 200 or so members of the movement showed up underneath the famous Arch and set up shop.
Per usual, the cops surrounded the protesters in the park but kept their distance on the perimeter. Everything was at peace, since it is
an area meant for public assembly, until the protestors spilled out onto Broadway and attempted to march back to Zuccotti. Tensions immediately rose when reports stated that the protestors began to yell out, “Fuck the police!
” – that’ll usually be a dealbreaker with the authorities. Soon after, about 25 people were cuffed and brought to a nearby station.
More than two dozen arrests on the first day of the Anniversary weekend is a bad omen for what will happen today or tomorrow. As we all know, Bloomberg and Ray Kelly do not hesitate for a minute when it comes to 99 Percent protests; and neither do the cops on the ground. However, on May Day, which became known as a semi-successful, semi-failed major Occupy protest, only 30 people were arrested out of the thousands that showed up. In terms of statistics for other Occupy protests, that could be considered somewhat peaceful.
As we have seen with Zuccotti and the attempts at blocking the New York Stock Exchange, the NYPD is hyper-sensitive with protection Downtown. So we’ll what Occupy Wall Street has in store for New York City in the morning.
For Voice coverage on the ground, follow Nick Pinto (@macfathom).