As several hundred Occupy protesters coalesced at key intersections in the financial district on Monday morning, they were met by the usual mix of curious onlookers, journalists, and police. It is September 17, the first anniversary of the somewhat spontaneous occupation of Zuccotti Park, and what else could protesters do but try to disrupt the flow of life for the one percent?
Except things didn’t go quite as planned.
For one thing, the NYPD was out in force — and effectively able to prevent sit-ins or protesters from locking arms across busy street corners, which occupiers had made central to their agenda. Dozens of Occupiers appeared confused, consulting their maps (complete with diagrams of the day’s events) awkwardly as they navigated the maze of NYPD and security officials associated with the various banks and other commercial buildings in the neighborhood, where photo I.D. was required for entry.
Groups of protesters seemed to arbitrarily make their way from one “zone” on their grid to another, and cops arrested several activists when the density of bodies at street corners escalated. Before 10 a.m., the National Lawyers Guild was reporting more than 70 arrests.
But for the most part, life went on as usual. Fifteen minutes after hundreds of activists flowed triumphantly out of the vicinity of Zuccotti Park, there was no indication this was any kind of special day for the movement, with less initial excitement even than the celebratory, if unsustainable, May Day marches.
Still, saxaphones blared and drums bellowed from within a crowd of feisty protesters as they jeered at the “white shirts” a few blocks from the park. Confetti was launched, and the crowd roared in approval. And so even if the morning’s action had been something of a dud, the Carnival of Occupy marched on.
Update: The New York Times reports that more than 100 demonstrators have now been arrested:
By midday, 124 people had been arrested. The arrests were mostly on disorderly conduct charges “for impeding vehicular or pedestrian traffic,” according to Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. On Saturday and Sunday, the police arrested 43 people in connection with the protests, Mr. Browne said. While most of those arrests involved charges of disorderly conduct, he said that some were on assault and resisting arrest charges.
According to the group’s public schedule, this afternoon is “for lunch, discussion, and a rocking good time” in Zuccotti Park, leading up to yet another march this evening.
Update 2: By nightfall, TKTK