Before the occupiers even showed up in any real numbers, the police took to the streets causing far greater disruption than Occupy Wall Street could have ever dreamed.
NYPD had hundreds of vehicles on the streets surrounding Wall Street by 7 am. By 7:30 there were hundreds of police officers lining nearly every street and blocking all access points to Wall Street.
However; the police may have owned the street and Wall Street itself, but the Occupiers owned everything else in the district.
Every side walk and nearly every business in the area was paid a visit by protesters including the Stock Exchange, which the Occupiers held for nearly an hour before moving on to Bowling Green where they held a speak in.
Green party Candidate Jill Stein and others including members of the Anarchist alliance spoke to the crowd of several hundred.
Of course the day wouldn’t have been able to even start for either the protesters or the police without random arrests.
Police entered the crowd of protesters in front of Wall Street like a hot knife through butter pushing back journalists and demanding that they get into a small fence- in area designated for press but too small to hold even a fraction of the journalists present.
The police told journalists that if they did not have credentials that they deemed valid, they had to keep moving or face arrest.
One of the protesters in the first set of arrests was dragged out by the arms, held up by police on each side of him taken out of the crowd and into a paddy wagon waiting nearby. At least three others were arrested in the first arrest, none of them appeared to resist.
“It’s horrible that they pick random people out of the crowd in order to keep us quite, “said Dave Harold, 30 from the Bronx.
“The police are just trying to intimidate people in order to main order,” said Isis Gonzalez
Police also had a number of infiltrators among the protesters. When they were spotted they would often move to another group and the individual who pointed them out would be photographed by other officers.
By early afternoon police had clearly lost control of the situation on many of the streets, with the exception of Wall Street itself where you had to have I.D. showing that you worked in the area.
“police like to push buttons, sort of like a he freezer that just, Isis Kronber
By the middle of afternoon there had been nearly 120 arrests, arrests would continue throughout the afternoon with the last estimate given by the National Lawyers Guild at just over 140 arrests.
While Occupy protesters continued to celebrate with march after march, up and down the sidewalks of Broad Street sometimes even venturing onto other streets.
“We didn’t have to fight to get this park, it was given to us as a peace offering,” Robert Krieger, 28 of the Bronx.
There were almost as many signs as there were protesters, nearly every one of them touching on a different issue that was important to an individual protester.
“We all came out here because we’re unafraid, those people in the offices and high rises they’re afraid, that’s why they have to,” Jamie Krieger
Throughout the day crowds of pedestrians had to push their way through the gauntlet of protesters and police at times walking in the streets because there just wasn’t enough room for them to stay on the sidewalks.
“We didn’t have to drive around protesters and police barricades,” Said Kreiger, “the police vehicles took up all of the parking spots down here, while all of the protesters walked or took public transportation.”
The Occupiers took full advantage of the situation presented to them by their control of the park by continuing the celebration well into the evening. Making the financial District into a carnival of love and laughter, despite the ever present tension from the police presence that surrounded and intermingled with them.