- Posted May 2, 2012 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Occupy Wall Street
May Day Protests Start With a Bang
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
I started the day at 8:30am in Bushwick, where Occupy Bushwick met at Maria Hernandez Park. Several dozen protestors arrived for coffee, donuts and bagels, before marching to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they met with Occupy Williamsburg at Continental Army Plaza, under a statue of George Washington at Valley Forge. After a quick march around the neighborhood, without incident, everyone marched to the Williamsburg Bridge.
The protestors split into two groups, and marched across Williamsburg Bridge, accompanied by NYPD. They were headed towards the Lower East Side, in Manhattan. Each group took separate pedestrian/bike lanes across the bridge. Several arrests were made on the bridge, and the arrested protestors were put into NYPD paddy wagons once everyone reached the Manhattan side.
In the Lower East Side, protestors marched to Sara D. Roosevelt Park, where the group swelled in numbers. Shortly after 1pm, some of the protestors started a 'wildcat march'. A wildcat march is a march without an official permit. Several dozen protestors started to move en masse on Houston, to the north of the park. NYPD descended on them to make numerous arrests. However, this was a headfake -- while NYPD was distracted, the rest of the group ran out the park through the south entrance, towards Chinatown. NYPD was caught off guard, and the protestors ran through the streets, through traffic, deep into Chinatown.
There are reports of a 'black bloc' of OWS protestors, dressed all in black, who tried to attack banks, upended trash cans and NYPD barricades. Some of the black bloc protestors attacked photojournalists, because they did not want their photo taken. There are reports of some protestors trying to wrest cameras away from photojournalists, as well as reports of some protestors spraying black paint at the cameras.
NYPD finally cut off the protestors. Some headed to Washington Square Park, in the West Village, where more arrests were made. I headed up Broadway, towards Union Square, which was the central point in the city where all the protestors converged. Along the way heading north on Broadway, more arrests were made.
In Union Square, the atmosphere was festive. The light rain and grey skies from earlier in the day had cleared up to reveal a gorgeous spring afternoon. Various labour groups and unions arrived in Union Square. Around 5pm, bands took the stage, including rappers Das Racist.
After the show was over, thousands of people started to march south on Broadway, towards Wall Street. The march was very much like a parade, and was without incident, to my knowledge. By the time the massive march reached Wall Street, evening had fallen. By 8pm, some people began to disperse. Others, however, took to the Vietnam Veterans Plaza, and held a General Assembly.
At 10pm, NYPD cleared the Plaza. There were a number of arrests, but most people cleared the space willingly, and without incident.