While wandering about Manhattan, it has become evident that the Wall Street Occupiers have grown into a city-wide “Occupy Manhattan” movement. What started out as a peaceful demonstration in Zuccotti Park, a privately held park by Wall Street, has erupted into a disruptive mob.
On Saturday, October 15, 2011, the Wall Street Occupiers started branching out to other parts of the city. Thousands of protesters marched into Times Square. These occupiers became known as The Occupation Party.
That same evening saw the Occupation Party move to Greenwich Village, but not before they boarded the subway and had an occupation party on the trains. Down on MacDougal Street, in The Village, the occupiers started out marching on the sidewalks. They marched to a bass drum beating a steady rhythm of quarter notes as they all chanted, “Wall Street is our Street.” As the beat became more intense and the protesters got closer to the “non-participating” pedestrians, it became evident that these occupiers were moving full steam ahead and would not stop for anyone else on “their” sidewalk. The only thing left for a non-participant to do was move into the street as the protesters passed them by. Being a Saturday night in an area filled with bars and clubs, luckily, the streets were congested and traffic was moving at a slow pace. Had traffic been moving at the speed limit, it is scary to think what might have happened to those pedestrians forced into the street.
Moving from MacDougal Street to Washington Square Park, the Occupation Party grew ten-fold. Now, due to the amount of protesters, instead of marching on the sidewalk, they occupied the streets, blocking traffic. Their chanting became deafening and clearly what started out as a peaceful demonstration was now turning into a mob scene. The cops were out in full force with many in full riot gear. Now that the protesters were marching in the streets, they were officially breaking the law. The cops were ready to start arresting people. At that point, it was obvious that anyone who was not part of the Occupation Party, should make their way a little further uptown.
One of the greatest things about living in the United States is that we are allowed to have different opinions and be vocal about those opinions. Everyone has the right to protest peacefully, but there has to be a line. The Occupation Party crossed over this line when they broke the law and invaded people’s personal space. Why should a tax-paying NYC resident, going out to help stimulate the economy on a Saturday night, be forced into the street and eventually have to flee a vibrant neighborhood? After a stressful week, a person should be able to enjoy a Saturday night, in any part of the city, without having to worry about anything except where their next drink might be.
Also, New York City, along with the rest of the United States, recently commemorated the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Is it wise to have the NYPD focus their shift to these protesters, instead of the safety of the city? For the welfare of the citizens of New York, this Occupation Party would be better served by staying in Zuccotti Park and continuing with their peaceful demonstration. Better yet, they should march on Washington and let their frustrations be heard directly by the government, where it belongs!