Rumors spread that the police were preparing for another mass arrest this time at Liberty Plaza. One police officer told a protester that the march uptown went over the line.
Facilitators of the General Assembly instructed the approximately 4,000 in the plaza on what to do if arrested, pepper sprayed or tear gassed. Some participates then made a decision to leave the park. A large majority stayed.
By 9:00 musicians arrive, their music cutting the tension and the atmosphere became jubilant. Occupiers danced, ordered pizza, made plans, brought in equipment, called for first aid supplies and waited.
Candle "lights of peace" were lit around the park. More and more protesters arrived back at Liberty Plaza, several thousand by 10:00 p.m. The occupation was prepared with high intensity lights to keep streaming video should the NYPD move in.
At 10:30 p.m. the occupiers received copies of the early edition of the Daily News - page one: It's Wall Street. The New York Times was also to publish a front page story on the occupation of Wall Street.
Word came at 10:40 that a number of protesters arrested earlier in the day were released and were returning to Liberty Plaza.
Late last night NYPD banned open flames (candles).
Numbers Can Lie: Commentary
A quick word about numbers: As I mentioned yesterday, OWS isn't a 10 block march. It isn't a 3 hour rally. It's not just a day long march/rally, it ain't no Woodstock. It is a 24/7 occupation.
This morning, Saturday September 24th, the Recovery Walk took place in Philadelphia. The organizers had a good estimate of how many would march. Each recovery organization told them how many of their workers, volunteers and program members to expect.
I must say the 15,000 marchers looked quite impressive in their color coordinated t-shirts, a different color for each organization taking part.
The march took approximately 30 minutes (I am being very generous on the time here) to pass my observation point on Walnut Street. Add to that a generous 90 minutes of set-up time. Here's the math: 15,000 people times 2 hours = 30,000 people hours.
So now we have an "apples to apples" metric to measure the people participation in any type of feet on the street event: People Power Hours (PPH). (See Mom and Dad, my MBA is not going to waste.)
Here's a rough estimate of Occupy Wall Streets participation in People Power Hours. I'm going to be conservative about all the variables. Here's the method example for September 17 8:00 a.m. September 18:
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PM Bowling Green: 2,000 x 7 hrs. = 14,000 PPH