The crowd in Union Square yesterday.
Now that the dust has settled from Occupy Wall Street’s November 17 Day of Action, it’s time for each side to declare victory in an attempt to shape the narrative moving forward. Leading one side is Mayor Bloomberg, who dubbed the action a disappointment: “Occupy Wall Street had predicted on their website that tens of thousands would be participating in today’s protests, but there have been far fewer — and so far they have caused what can accurately be described as minimal disruptions to our city,” he said in a late-afternoon press conference. The city’s tabloids agree in opinion columns today, with the Daily News declaring, “They didn’t occupy Wall Street for long, shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, or win many new fans.” The Post called the demonstrations “a bit of a piffle” and “all talk” (but dedicated no fewer than six articles to it in today’s edition). Predictably, the occupiers disagree: They’re referring to yesterday’s events as “historic.”
According to OccupyWallSt.org:
Tens of thousands took action Thursday, November 17 to demand that our political system serve all of us — not just the wealthy and powerful. The NYPD estimated tonight’s crowd at 32,500 people, at the culmination of the day of action. Thousands more also mobilized in at least 30 cities across the United States. Demonstrations were also held in cities around the world.
As we reported in real time, more than 1,000 people gathered in the early morning, blocking entrances to the New York Stock Exchange, but failing to disrupt the ringing of the trading bell at 9:30 a.m. From there, the protesters moved back to Zuccotti Park, where a few scuffles with police accented an otherwise calm, if crowded, afternoon. Occupiers chanted and passed out fliers on the city’s subways, and eventually joined together, along with many labor unions, in Foley Square, for the day’s largest gathering. Capping off the night was a peaceful march over the Brooklyn Bridge. Even if they missed some goals (i.e. delaying the stock market), the protesters followed their set tactical agenda. These things we know for sure:
Length of NYC Occupation: Two months
NYC Areas Occupied Yesterday: New York Stock Exchange, Zuccotti Park, Foley Square, Union Square, Brooklyn Bridge
Protesters Arrested: More than 240
People Injured: At least ten protesters and seven police officers
Celebrities Present: At least Anne Hathaway
And now? “Many of my colleagues and I do think that this is the beginning of a new phase for the Occupy movement,” organizer Harrison Schultz told New York. “New tactics are in order to respond to a national effort against the Occupy movement.” But today will be, as one spokesman put it, “probably a day of rest and re-organizing.”