The following is a guest post written by DC's Nicole Franklin of Becoming, who traveled to New York City for the Occupy Wall Street actions:
Information booths are posted at the entrances to the park. I picked up a flyer welcoming us to the event that contained guidelines on how to behave during the important general assembly meetings, what to expect and what to bring. As we entered the park the first thing that struck me was the large presence of both the media and the police. As I learned later in a peaceful protest workshop, the police can arrest you at anytime, for any reason and the recent violence and mass arrests probably contributed to the welcoming but tense atmosphere. I made way to the media umbrella located about half way through the park where I conducted a quick interview with one of the media representatives. Though informed and friendly, for technical reasons I will not publish the audio file here. Because the use of bullhorns is illegal the residents use the “human mic.”, cell phones and text messaging to communicate inside the park.
Liberty Plaza is flanked by mosaics of hand made signsthat range in tone, but the overall message is the now familiar rally cry ,“We Are the 99%”. Sounds of live music drift through the park – drums, guitar, voices, a few people dancing. At one point a man walked through with a large sign reading “Nazi Bankers” and shouting inflammatory remarks. Residents quickly held up signs next to his letting the crowd know that his remarks were not associated with the official Occupy movement.