Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Protesters Occupied Fifth Avenue and Broadway

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 11:07 AM

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At Madison Square Park, the march picked up more protesters, and continued down Broadway. "Off the sidewalks and into the streets!" marchers shouted at protesters and passersby. Near 21st Street, a large group sat down in the bike lane, and many more surrounded them, blocking the entire street; it appeared to be an act of civil disobedience, until a mic check explained they were stopping the march so that the back could catch up. (The excitement of taking the streets had led many to walk too fast.) After four minutes, they stood up, and the march resumed. I didn't see anyone get arrested the whole afternoon.

At Union Square, a woman had set up a maypole with streamers, each bearing a different injustice, "so we can weave our grievances together," she said. The park and its surroundings flooded with marchers and protesters; a rally was already underway on the south end. Unlike Bryant Park an hour ago—whose great lawn was closed off, separating the protesters into clumps, east and west—Union Square was packed: every bench claimed, every railing and curb sat upon, every pathway active, every open space occupied. A constant crush of people passed.

The energy in the air gave it a sense of Zuccotti redux: a cluster of drummers on one end, a peppering of leafletters, artists making art, students chatting, musicians jamming, transients resting in the shade; I saw dogs, hand-rolled cigarettes, an empty bottle of wine, and masses of angry, peaceful, and energized peoples. They were all here, at least for now, as the cool and rainy morning gave way to a sunny spring afternoon. As one marcher had said in front of Lord & Taylor, "occupy is back!"

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