September 23, 2011: I need to start with a correction to an earlier report but it also leads to a very important point as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) completes its first week of occupation of Zuccotti Park, a.k.a. Liberty Plaza.
I said about 1,000 occupiers were staying each night. I was mistaken and I apologize. The correct number it is more like 150 - 250 and growing. Whatever the number, it should not be interpreted as small or insignificant. Allow me to explain.
I reported from the event on day one last Saturday, the kick off. Thousands attended. The UK Guardian said 5,000. I said 2,000 - 3,000. The naysayers said hundreds; more police than protesters, but that's just not true.
Here's the thing, 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 an occupation. And until you've experienced it you have no idea how serious and difficult it is. Yesterday I got a taste.
Occupation is a high risk protest tactic because so many things can bring this to a halt including the police, the elements, resources and the logistics. Right now, most of these factors are working against the occupiers.
Overnight occupiers are the keystone. They bear the brunt of the sacrifice and inconvenience. If the space is not held overnight the occupation is over and failed. This aspect of the occupation will be at greater risk with fall weather.
So far the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg have not allowed the occupiers to raise tents and have gone as far as confiscating plastic traps protecting computers and the communications equipment that provides the live internet video feed.
(I don't want to give more detail on how the occupation sustains the necessary human functions to support the overnight occupiers or how they are maintaining the logistics of meeting the police demands. If any of these are interfered with by the opposition it would create more problems and cost money the OWS General Assembly does not yet have in hand.)
At 7:40 p.m. protesters from a Troy Davis rally in Union Square marched down Broadway and join the OWS effort. That easily raised the crowd to well over 5,000. It also raise the tension with the police. On the subsequent solidarity march to Wall Street six were arrested.
OWS protesters arrested: 21
Wall Street Banksters: 0
NYC Labor Unions in Solidarity with OWS: 3