Thousands of “occupiers” converged on the financial district Monday attempting to blockade the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in celebration of the Occupy Wall Street one year anniversary.
Roving marches of hundreds choked off key intersections and dozens of arrests were made by the New York Police Department. Fences and flex cuffs were their weapons of choice today instead of batons and pepper spray, a reflection of the fact that heavy-handed tactics were a key reason that Occupy Wall Street won so much sympathy and active support when copycat occupations spread across the country last year.
Like any new grassroots uprising, OWS and its offshoots have struggled and stumbled due to external opposition and internal difficulties. Occupied Wall Street Journal, a satirical newspaper independently produced by members of OWS, is printing its last issue soon. The mainstream media continues to focus on Occupy’s real difficulties with headlines like: “1 year on, Occupy is in disarray; spirit lives on.”
As anyone who ever spent time in Zuccotti Park during the encampment phase of Occupy knows, OWS was in disarray from day one. It continually teetered on the edge of implosion due to conflicting forces within and opposition from police and political forces without.
Organized chaos (or chaotic organization) was always OWS’s calling card and to some degree it succeeded against all odds, and against the predictions of professional pundits. This morning’s blockades were a combination of demonstrators “winging it” and careful planning beforehand among a cadre of local activists who have come to know and trust one another over the battles of the past year.
A fold-able version of the map above with a three-day itinerary and detailed explanation of events was handed out at various intersections in the Wall Street area throughout the morning to the rag tag army of occupiers which included disability rights activists, ACT UP veterans, the jobless, the homeless, and many young activists who donned suits and ties in the hopes of infiltrating and disrupting NYPD checkpoints aimed to weed out protestors from the immediate area of the NYSE.
As each roving band moved, a corresponding line of police followed to corral them and issue orders. The protestors succeeded in shutting down many, but not all of the choke points en route to the NYSE. When the Wall Street and Broadway entrance was besieged by hundreds of occupiers, some of whom sat down at 8 am, a line of Wall Street employees standing at Broadway and Exchange one block down stood and cleared the NYPD check point with their work badges.
Live coverage of the Occupy Wall Street one year anniversary protests can be seen at the Timcast livestream.