Weekend with the Occupiers

                This past weekend I was in New York City visiting some friends and I had a chance to see and talk to a couple participating in the Occupy Movement. Like everyone else that I saw participating, the couple was very friendly and peaceful. The only thing not friendly about them was how they were dressed. They both were dressed up like zombies and their hair was sticking straight up. When I asked them why they were participating in the event, there response was more or less like “This is the best way to express ourselves and be with people that share the same opinions as we do.” They also said that they were not-satisfied with their 9-5 jobs in New Jersey for an online marketing company. I then asked them if they think anything will change after these protests. They responded with a smile on their face and said “probably not but we certainly tried our best”. After talking to the couple, I watched other protesters and I was surprised with how friendly everyone was. They were taking pictures with everyone and dancing together like they were having a party. I was expecting mobs of people with their pitchforks going through the streets.  I honestly think the situation is pretty weird but it was an interesting experience to say the least.

                The one thing that really annoyed me while watching the protests was the amount of police used to escort the protestors through the streets. You would have thought the President of the United States was walking through the streets with the amount of policemen that followed these protestors. I feel like there were so many policemen present because the potential of a violent protest breaking out. But I think it was a huge waste of police officers because they could be used to do something else productive. In a city like New York, I don’t think it’s wise to devote so many policemen to the Occupy Wall street protesters.

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6 Responses to Weekend with the Occupiers

  1. awhigbee says:

    It is really awesome that you got to witness the essential weirdness of protestors. It is also really cool that you got to talk to them and everyone was friendly. I think that the protestors are doing a good job of being non-violent and positive as evidenced further by the people you spoke to. However, it is a little absurd that New York is devoting so many policemen to monitoring the event. It would be really interesting to see if there was a crime spike or any increased illegal activity because of lack of police officers. I wonder!

  2. tpm011 says:

    Was there a lot of chants going on and signs drawn up or was it more of a relaxed, lets hang out kind of setting? I also am curious if the protest is slowing anyone in the city down or if the people of new york are going about their day as normal

  3. knriggins says:

    I’m glad you mentioned they were dressed like zombies. I was in NYC over fall break and came across someone wearing the ugliest mask I have ever seen. It really scared the living daylights out of me. He just stood on the street and stared at me until I went around the corner. I’d like to think he was staring because I was staring? I’ve been trying to tell myself that there was a reason for this and that he was just a normal person in a mask. I think I’ll sleep easier thinking he was also a protestor. This might not be true, but it makes me feel better. Sorry that was a little unrelated. It’s great you got to talk to some of the protestors. Did you get the sense that people were just joining in for the fun of it, or that everyone was really there with a purpose? I sometimes wonder that about protests.

  4. Slade says:

    Being from southern New York, I know many police officers including high ranking ones. They are all very smart individuals with way more resources at their disposal than you think. Think about how much worse 9/11 could have been if the NYPD was not responsible with how they use different officers and resources for the betterment and safety of the public in New York. There have been thousands of protests in New York before, so I think they know what they are doing and can handle it. Also, I recall reading that the protesters for Occupy Wall Street never got a permit for the protest which is typically how groups go about doing it, so perhaps they had more officers than expected because of this. Either way, I would trust the NYPD. They certainly aren’t perfect and make mistakes, but usually its on an individual basis, not a department wide scale.

  5. Jordi says:

    When I see a US veteran from Iraq saying stone-throwing rioters were treated better than peaceful protesters, it is pretty damning of the US police. I would like to know how much militarization there has been of the police since 9/11. Much of it is quite understandable, as Slade says. But it may have had the effect of making it much harder to use the very democratic rights Al-Qaeda attacked and we all should defend.

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