Despite a lack of public presence, Occupy Wall Street has been hard at work all summer. Still, without constant marches of thousands or gratuitous police violence, Occupy was, in most people’s eyes, dead. Check out our recap of a year of OWS.
Organizers set out to challenge that view with three days of events and actions culminating in today’s anniversary, which began with a blockade of Wall Street. The NYPD did most of the blockading for them, erecting double-layered barricades across entrances to the heart of the Financial District. Only those with IDs showing that they lived or worked within could pass through. Some protesters staged a sit-in at the gates, before being arrested and dragged away. Thanks to checkpoints and protesters alike, many workers faced frustratingly long lines and thick crowds.
The day continued with a series of marches throughout the Financial District, with sit-ins at banks, road blockades, and confrontations with the police flaring into the afternoon. By the evening, the New York Times reported that 181 had been arrested.
Among those were at least 5 journalists, including a student reporter for Hunter College’s “The Envoy.” A TimesCast report filed by Colin Moynihan shows police using their clubs to push journalists away from one arrest scene, after their commander ordered, “no more pictures.” (Relevant: Since Occupy began, the US has fallen 27 ranks in world press freedom ranking, to 47th place.)
The scheduled 6 pm convergence in Foley Square never coalesced, and a crowd of perhaps a thousand protesters remained in Zuccotti Park as night fell. The park’s apparent new layout is a ring of metal barricades, with a small opening on the South and North sides. There, private security guards monitor people entering, turning away those with large backpacks or any other such “occupying” materials. Over a hundred NYPD officers ringed the park, including internet-famous Detective Rick Lee, a.k.a. the Hipster Cop.
Yesterday was the culmination of three days of intense protest. Saturday included events around the theme of “education,” and was largely dedicated to assemblies, working groups, and trainings. Sunday was themed as “celebration.” An evening anniversary concert in Foley Square featured Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, who also performed in Union Square on May Day this past spring. Rebel Diaz, Kool A.D. of Das Racist, and Chad Stokes of Dispatch also played, among others.