Anatomy of a Protest

I am fascinated with the the way protests actually work and how the police respond to them. Many years ago  I had a chance to see a protest and understood that when the police responded they were reacting
and acting against the performance of the protest.  To me it made apparent that the act of protest is intrinsic in the act of policing people.

Anyhow The protest at Occupy Wall Street is interesting. I went down to check out the space and to see what people are doing to organize and maintain their civil disobedience in this little park near Wall Street.

Oddly enough I was there on Columbus day during a festival/street fair. The police made sure to keep the protest from spilling into the festival by placing barricades on and along Wall Street and boosted police presence in the area.

I walked into Zuccotti Park to see how the space was organized. I found that there is a library with books and even spotted LP’s( It would be cool to have a mix of records and selected recordings of the protesters) and other media to select.

A kitchen is located in the middle of the park with a Speed Rack full of kitchen supplies and dry goods on hand.  A dish washing station was operated by two people. They used a special gray water system from plants, rocks and a system of buckets and compost to deal with the waste water from their cooking and dish washing.

There was some music being played in the park by a loose group of  performers and there were lots of different organizations present in the space. Many protesters were sleeping and others were busy keeping the space clean by sweeping around the park.

I witnessed their voice intercom service that seemed to work as a way to communicate with the rest of the park protesters. They would repeat the news that was relayed by the person next to them and then send it forward to the next person as a way of getting news out without an intercom or loud speaker that they are apparently not allowed to have.

It’s very interesting to see how the police are dealing with the space. People are not allowed to block sidewalks and the police seem really uneasy about the whole protest.  They constantly tell people along the sidewalk that they need to move on and to keep the traffic flowing. As long as you are not blocking the sidewalk you are allowed to be there. It all hints at how precarious this space is as a place that is allowed for such a protest. I immediately ask myself when will the police just get tired of them and kick them out? I also feel that there are forces not seen that are keeping the protesters from being moved out of the park. Apparently the mayor and the owner of Zuccotti park among others are allowing this protest to happen.

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