ZUCCOTTI PARK, N.Y. – When NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced the “cleanup” of Zuccotti Park for Oct. 14 at 6 a.m, thousands of people including many union members – transit workers, teachers, Teamsters, communications workers – showed up in the early morning to support the Occupy Wall Street youth. When it was announced the cleanup was cancelled, cheers went up. It was widely believed the cleanup was a rouse to evict the protesters.
The thousands of supporters deterred the New York Police Department and the mayor from ordering mass arrests. People celebrated the victory over the billionaires and millionaires as represented by Bloomberg.
OWS participants had spent the previous day and night cleaning the park. There were buckets, brooms, mops and cleaning fluids for use. One woman who works for the State of New Mexico was sweeping the sidewalk. She said the breath of this movement is so inspiring she had to come.
Mark Stranquist, a filmmaker from Richmond, Va., was here to “bring back some of these experiences to Richmond. Everybody here is doing something, cooking, cleaning or health care. Everybody here is doing something to help everybody else.”
“This morning as unions joined us I was just… thousands of people joined us, the sound was just reverberating off these buildings. The sound, that’s poetry.”
Derek Jackson, a corrections officer in New Jersey, said, “I’m here to express my dissatisfaction with the economic and political climate today. The pressure being put on the middle class, trying to bust the unions, my family is stretched to the point where we can barely make it and I’m trying to fight back.”
Mike from Glazers Union Local 71 said he was there to support the “movement that these young people have started down here against corporate greed. We need jobs more than ever, it’s a disgrace.”
There generally is a large police presence around the park. Many NYPD higher-ranked officers are assigned to the protest. Several Wall Street occupants noted that captains perpetrated some of the abuse caught on camera. Occupants often converse with the police, saying, “We are doing this for you too.”
Rachel Small of United Church of Christ said after hearing about the occupation through Facebook, she decided to go and support it. “
Some of my colleagues from the United Church of Christ were coming. They said, ‘Come on, come down bring your collar,'” she said.
“I felt very moved by things I read on OWS. It’s so important that we speak up and try to make things more equal. I think it’s impossible that things will be totally equal but we can do a little better. I’m all for that.”
Photo: (Gabe Falsetta/PeoplesWorld.org)