We had huge crowds at Liberty Park last night. So big that police had to shutdown and block off the the streets north and south of the park. We decided to gather people together and march to Wall Street later into the night. It seems every time we have a massive crowd, Mike Moore shows up a little later. He helped us rally people to start the march. Once we got to the barricades near Wall Street and things began to get intense, Moore was nowhere to be found, he vanished into the night.
The police would not let us get within eyesight of the stock exchange. The crowd was massive and getting louder by the minute. We tried making a deal with the police to let us move at least one block further so we could at least see the stock exchange. If you don’t know the area, the streets around the stock exchange have very little car traffic and it is primarily a tourist site. Since the protests started, the entire area is barricaded off and closed to the public unless you work or live in the area.
As the marched was blocked off, people were chanting to the cops, “Who are you protecting! We are fighting for you. Who are you protecting! We are fighting for you.” I thought it would have been a wise and safe decision to let the march move one block closer to the exchange, but a white-shirt cop told me, “There is absolutely no chance that can happen. I have strict orders to contain the march here.”
There were definitely some people who wanted to push through the barricades, but we peacefully remained in place for about 20 minutes. A few guys that I’ve never seen before were really agitating for us to break through. A few other people that I know, were considering it and we were trying to get an assembly together to try to figure out what our next move would be. At this point, the two guys that I’ve never seen before were the first to push into the barricades that were directly in front of about 50 police officers, and the instant that happened, pepper-spray was fired all over the place and the cops were swing their batons wildly.
I managed to get some footage of it on my flipcam, I will post some later, but I got some pepper-spray in my left eye and got pushed and shoved around so the footage is messy. Journalist Luke Rudkowski, from We Are Change, was directly to my right and he did an amazing job of getting footage, despite being pepper-sprayed and hit with a baton. I have to give major respect to Luke. His coverage of the protests from Day 1, and every single day since, has been among the best we’ve had. He’s fearless.
Here’s the intro to the footage he shot:
“Journalist Luke Rudkowski was attacked by police Wednesday night while trying to document the Occupy Wall Street arrests in NY. NYPD used pepper spray, batons, and brute force to move protesters away from the entrance to Wall Street after many tried to push through police barricades. Rumors immediately circulated that police provocateurs dressed as protesters were to blame for the incident.”
The question of whether or not some of the people pushing through were undercover provocateurs, especially the two guys that hit the barricades first, is definitely legitimate. I know many of the people who have been coming out for over two weeks now, but I have no clue who those two guys were. And they were definitely agitating. We’ll have to see if they’re around again and question them.
More to come..