Wednesday, May 02, 2012
May Day Occupy protests: Fired-up or fizzled-out?

Yesterday, the Occupy movement kicked off a planned renaissance – an "American Spring" – as thousands of demonstrators took the streets of cities around the world. The protests took place on May 1 in solidarity with International Workers Day, a holiday meant to commemorate the struggles of laborers and working-class folks around the world.

 

Occupiers were largely dormant during the winter months, which led many to speculate that the movement had fizzled out. CNN published an op-ed by Amitai Etzioni this morning arguing that yesterday's "underwhelming" protests were proof-positive of this assertion.

 

But iReporters told a different story.

 

 

Occupiers massed in New York City's Union Park and marched down Broadway for several hours, straight through the heart of Manhattan. Photographer Joel Graham initially went to the march as a neutral observer, but admitted he began to feel an emotional connection to the demonstrators:

 

"At the Vietnam memorial, a chant broke out: 'Antagonize! Antagonize! Antagonize!' My impression is that the Occupiers plan on sustaining their efforts until change is made," he said. "There is some concern that some smaller radical groups might manipulate the protests by provoking violence but I don't get the impression (just the opposite) that the Occupiers want that reputation."

 

 

Bostonian Adam C. Powell had a similar experience. He was on his way home last night when he saw a group of Occupiers marching through Copley Square. “I hope that by sharing this clip, I will help others see the current level of unrest in America. While it is debatable whether the protesters are right or wrong, the one thing that is clear is that they are unhappy,” he said.

 

Pastor Reginald C. Norman, Jr. documented the protests in downtown Los Angeles, California. He shot portraits of demonstrators assembling and readying for a march through the center of the city. "It seems that they are frustrated with the slow progress of changing things for the better, but they haven't given up hope," he said.

 

 

And on the other side of the pond, photographer Teresa Teixeira witnessed and participated in street demonstrations in Lisbon, Portugal, loosely connected to the U.S. Occupy movement.

 

"The demonstrators seemed strong in their convictions, but this day was specially used to show the people's discontent, and an alert to the government," she said. "There is obviously the will to carry on future changes, and these have to be guaranteed by the people organized in groups of interest, not the government any more!"

 

Are there Occupy protests in your area? CNN iReport wants to hear from you: Share your photos and videos, or tell us what you think about the movement.

 

[An earlier version of this blog post included a photo of demonstrators who may not have been affiliated with the Occupy movement.]

5 Comments
May 2, 2012
Click to view CuturE's profile

U.S. protesters came out in the "tens of thousands". These images don't do it justice. It was definitely a success although I'd say CNN coverage wasn't.

May 2, 2012
Click to view k3vsDad's profile

While the Occupy Movement is still alive, it does seem much of the steam may be gone. What will tell the tale is whether those who adhere to the Occupy Movement make a stand and statement at the ballot box on November 8.

May 2, 2012
Click to view 24AheadCom's profile

@CuturE: OccupyLA claimed what they did yesterday would "[help] to shut down the flow of capital" and that it would "[cripple] capitalism in the city".

 

Now, that might have happened in the minds of those in one of OWS's bongtents, but it didn't happen in the real world, not even close.

May 3, 2012
Click to view MMahfouz's profile

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