Occupy Wall Street's May 1st "General Strike" [Liveblog]
May First General Strike light graffiti via Brandon Neubauer on Flickr
Today is the day – Occupy Wall Street and other associated groups have been planning actions for the May 1st General Strike, and today we’ll be monitoring the result of their planning.
This entry will be updated throughout the day, with the latest information showing up at the bottom of the page, timestamped in the live blog. Refresh the page to see the latest updates. On the right side of the page is a list of Occupy Wall Street Twitter accounts which will provide a real-time feed of what is happening around the city. A Great Big City is not responsible for any content or links that are posted in that sidebar by Twitter users.
Even before May Day begins, we have seen suspicious powder incidents at banks across the city, at least one of which contained a reference to May 1st. If this is indeed an action from an Occupy Wall Street-related group, it would indicate a significant change in protest tactics, and may draw a greater police presence during the May 1st demonstrations.
In advance any May 1st protest activity, a document from NYPD SHIELD was circulated around the web. The six-page PDF document is a summary of the actions that Occupy Wall Street has planned for the day, and details some of the tactics that protesters may use, including the “black bloc” tactic of protesters wearing bandannas and masks to conceal their identity and a potentially rowdy “wildcat march” planned for 1:00pm at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
The second major event before the May 1st protest began was a series of NYPD visits to at least three protesters’ homes, during which they were questioned about their May Day plans. Originally the story was posted to Anarchist News, but Gawker contacted the protesters for more information about how and why the protesters were questioned.
Live streaming video
Timcast will be live-streaming video all day from the May Day protests, and has consistently high-quality video combined with insightful commentary.
May Day Radio
Check out this live radio show being broadcast today called May Day Radio. Listen on the embedded player below or click through to their website for other listening options.
Other live video streams
- The NY Daily News has a liveblog of NY-area protests
- Reuters is running a liveblog of May Day events from around the world
- Huffington Post has more information about the early-morning NYPD raids, with a liveblog running below the article about May Day protests worldwide
- Animal has a great series of photos from today
- The main OWS site occupywallst.org is posting live updates from various May Day protests
- The Village Voice
The May Day protest has been marching across the city since early this morning, with groups from Williamsburg and Bushwick that are currently marching into Manhattan, and the main group gathered in Bryant Park and marching around Midtown, up Fifth Avenue and past the Fox News Building.
Around 10:30am, as Occupy was marching through Midtown, there was a report of a suspicious powder found in an envelope at a location right next to the march route:
Manhattan: Suspicious Powder 6 Ave & West 48 St. ESU reporting a suspicious powder found in an envelope. Units entering. NY01— NYCityAlerts (@NYCityAlerts) May 1, 2012
This would mirror yesterday’s multiple suspicious powder incidents across Manhattan.
Victoria Bekiempis reports that, as protesters exited the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, NYPD confiscated some shopping carts that “contained some kind of shields” and four arrests were made.
Police took Occupiers’ shopping cart, which contained some type of shields. Boos ensued.— Victoria Bekiempis (@vicbekiempis) May 1, 2012
ABC News has more information on the white powder and threatening letters. The powder samples were non-toxic but contained references to May Day:
“This is a reminder that you are not in control,” said a message that arrived with the envelopes. “Just in case you needed some incentive to stop working we have a little surprise for you. Think fast you have seconds.”
The letter ended with a taunt.
“F—- THE BOSSES F—- THE BANKS F—- THE PIGS ‘Happy May Day.’”
Why did so many letters arrive on April 30th, a day before May 1st? The police suggest it was due to efficiency:
Some of the envelopes, believed intended for May Day delivery, arrived at the banks early, according to police.
“They underestimated the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service,” one official said.
In advance of today’s Wildcat March, which will be leaving Sara D. Roosevelt Park at 1pm, the NYPD has already staged scooters and police vans:
Capital New York’s Dan Rosenblum reports on the early-morning march of Occupy Bushwick from Maria Hernandez Park, over the Williamsburg Bridge, and into Manhattan:
They had bagels and drinks in boxes. Most of them were recent arrivals to the neighborhood and members of Occupy Bushwick, an Occupy spin-off that formed earlier this year.
“I don’t care about the rain,” said Stephanie Shroder, laughing. “I’m from the Midwest.”
- Capital New York
Ustream user “SimoneEgip” is broadcasting live video of the Wildcat March, which is currently gathering in Sara D. Roosevelt Park and will be leaving at 2pm:
The afternoon was taken up by a series of marches around the city – one group leaving Madison Square Park, the Wildcat March from the LES, and various high school and college groups. All marches eventually made their way to Union Square for the pre-planned concert, and Tom Morello has just taken the stage.
After a concert in Union Square by Tom Morello, Dan Deacon, and Immortal Technique, Occupy and various Unions are making their way down Broadway on a city-permitted march. The march will either end at Zuccotti or Wall Street.
Tonight’s evening march down Broadway went off with relatively little confrontation, and now Occupy has gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 55 Water Street. This park is also a “privately-owned public space”, like Zuccotti Park, but the space is set to close at 10pm.