Last week, Occupy Wall Street protesters launched a new tactic that brought back the actual occupation part of the movement: In line with a court decision from 2000 that said political demonstrators can sleep on sidewalks if they didn’t take up too much space, some devoted, rugged people started doing just that. It began outside of banks around Union Square, and this week, it’s moved back down to the symbolic battlefield: Wall Street.
The New York Times reports that protesters slept around the financial district for a third straight night yesterday, and again, police left them alone, sleeping bags and all. “Finally, here we are, in the belly of the beast,” said one overnighter.
There were about 75 people last night around Wall Street, but as the weather continues to warm, and the plan spreads, this could very well generate substantial momentum for the movement, which has been far less visible since being evicted from Zuccotti Park in the fall. Already, similar sleepovers have been staged in Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston. “It takes a tremendous amount of resources to maintain a camp,” one demonstrator explained. “But sidewalks are everywhere.”
Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly should start preparing.