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Lackluster Stateside Support for May Day Protests

by Heather Rogers, published


A push to incite nationwide protests on Tuesday, May 1st went unheeded, for the most part. Organizers hoped to get American students and workers, across the country, to take the day off in order to demonstrate against income inequality and unjust corporate practices, showing the 1% what life would be like without the 99%.

The Occupy Wall Street movement joined with labor groups in recognition of Tuesday’s International Workers Day sending out a text message broadcast on Monday evening saying,

"All civilians stand by for GENERAL STRIKE at 08:00. No Work, School, or Shopping. All out in the streets!"

According to Reuters, lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where Occupy protest were in full swing last year, was mostly empty today, except for a few police officers who  had anticipated the crowds. There was a similar theme across the country that saw only a fragment of the numbers that some expected.

Despite noticeable lack of participation, there were various pop-up protests. In Brooklyn, 350 people marched today, some holding signs that read, "Capitalism Kills Fun". The Chicago Tribune reported 1,000 people gathered in Union Park, and another 500 people protested in New York’s Bryant Park, and 400 elsewhere in Manhattan. San Francisco’s Mission District saw protestors smashing windows and throwing paint on cars late on Monday night and a Seattle march today was punctuated by fringe protesters also smashing windows.

Six people were arrested this morning in New York while demonstrating as part of the Occupy Movement.

Protestors in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, attempted to get students at Panorama High School to ditch class and join the movement as they marched past the school shouting, “Walk out! Walk out!” and “Join us in the streets!” No students were seen exiting the campus. Protests are expected to dominate the afternoon in the City of Angels as union members join forces.

Europe saw some better populated May Day protests, with over 15,000 people gathering in Spain’s Puerta del Sol in Madrid. France marked the day with prominent political figures and presidential candidates Francois Hollande, Marine Le Pen and current head of state President Nicolas Sarkozy all holding events.

One of the hopes of today's stateside protesters was to rejuvenate the Occupy Movement. Enthusiasm for the movement has dissipated in the past several months, however small groups of protesters remain, some lingering around the New York Stock Exchange.

There are further protests scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the White House and other locations around the country.

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