There were HUGE crowds at Zuccotti Park all day. The protestors started heading over to Foley Square at around 3 pm. I was among the first wave, leaving around 3:25. The march got slower as we got closer to the park. We got to the park and WOW!!! People EVERYWHERE for blocks with no room to be had. It was the largest crowd I have ever seen in person, excluding sporting events. And it just kept growing. Each new wave of people with different chants: (“We are the 99%”, “This is what democracy looks like”, “We got sold out, banks got bailed out.”. and many more.)
I held up my sign, spoke to many people and went back to Zuccotti right before it got dark. I thought it was going to be empty but the crowd stretched along Broadway from Foley Square all the way back to the park and beyond. I found a good spot right in front of the Trinity Place side of Zuccotti and joined some chants, spoke with more people and even saw Michael Moore enter the park less than 6 feet away from me. I then saw a crowd forming and they began to yell “we’re taking over Wall Street, let’s go” and they ran in Wall St.’s direction. There were many of them, maybe around 20 or 30 people, mostly college-age. Shortly after, I walked back to the train to go home. By that time, it was 7 pm and I had tons of homework to grade. Broadway was packed with people, police were in the streets standing guard, people were standing on traffic lights and a crowd of young people were conferring right on Wall Street. 10 minutes after I boarded the train, those young people were beaten and pepper sprayed by NYPD.
The media have given it small airtime but the papers are front paging it. But all the coverage is saying is “they don’t have clear demands.” They still don’t get it, the demand is clear: an end to corporate power in government and our lives. Why don’t they get that? We’re for “small corporations” as much as the Tea Party is for “small government”, only we mean what we say. I guess when the media is owned by those same corporations, it is natural for them to pretend that they are not hearing the very clear message.
The crowd is very diverse but I would say the heart and soul are the college students who come from all over the nation. Many are graduates of top universities. There are also many professors and baby boomers who took part in the protests of the 60s. Working stiffs are there in force as well. This is just the start. These people are the real deal. They are SMART, they are aware and they are dispossessed. I am excited to see what comes of this and big things are certainly going to cone of this. Average people are beginning to realize what those in the know have been struggling against for years. The smart are waking up, the dumb will watch it happen.