The Occupy Wall Street protest in Liberty Square isn't far from where I live, so I took some time last Thursday to go down and see for myself what was going on. For the most part, I'm going to leave the discussion of the protest and its agenda for other forums. I'm all for people exercising democratic rights at all times, no matter what their message and that's all I'll say about that. As a reportage artist, I love to draw a protest, although it's not something I often do. People that are passionate, that are committed to what they're doing are interesting, and interesting to draw. They want to talk, to communicate, and that's something I understand.
One of the first things I noticed was the number of very fancy cameras around. The protest isn't really getting too much press, so I can only assume these are just people who came out to take pictures.
Here's someone taking a picture with their iPad. The guy didn't feel like a protester either (although statistically, the 99% does cast a wide net).
I'm not sure what to think about the high-end video cameras.
Here's a protester whose opinion is pretty clear.
And it wasn't all young people (although there did seem to be a lot of students). Here's a member of the Granny Peace Brigade.
And who's this fellow in his striped button-down, tie, and suit slacks? Possibly a Wall Streeter on his smoke break?
The protesters are prohibited from having any amplification system, so they've worked out a way to communicate without one. Someone in the center would make an announcement, just a few words at a time, and the message would be repeated by anyone who heard it in a rhythmic singsong that would ripple out towards the edges. It was interesting, if not always perfectly effective.
If you agreed with the point being made, you could put up your hands and wiggle your fingers. Jazz hands, everybody!
And no protest reportage is complete, in my opinion, without the cops. I know they've behaved abominably at times, and have now been accused of luring people onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway only to arrest them. While I was there, though, the cops were standing around the perimeter of the square, making sure traffic wasn't obstructed, being pretty unobtrusive.
Let's hear it for democracy in action!