"Occupy Wall Street" Protest Has International Support; Setting Up for Long Haul
It's Day 5 of the occupation of Wall Street and the activists have settled in for a while.
Their camp in Zuccotti Park, formerly Liberty Plaza Park, shouting distance from Goldman Sachs bankers, is fully stocked with blankets, a kitchen, a medic table, and even a childcare center. A couple hundred people (hard to get a count as people milling in and out also included local folks on their lunch break and some curious construction workers from the World Trade Center site) are hanging out in the park, chatting, napping, chanting, talking to reporters or trying to recruit passersby.
"We've got everything to sustain us for months," Lily, working at the medical table, told me. She's an EMT, and she said that they have a full committee of people with some sort of medical background to be prepared for emergencies, as well as all sorts of medical supplies, some donated and some bought with money that Lily said was being donated from all over the world.
"So far we've given out lots of Band-Aids, because everyone has blisters, lots of cough drops because nobody has a voice," she said.
It's easy to see why no one has a voice, as there's nearly always someone chanting. I heard them from down the street as I approached; a line of mostly young people holding cardboard signs and singing along with a drum. I also saw trumpets, trombones, and a French horn.
Monica Lopez was part of a small crew huddled around laptops with portable wifi, keeping in touch with the rest of the world--and I do mean world. Monica is from Spain, having flown in a few days ago to join the occupation after taking part in her own country's occupations of public squares in protest at austerity measures imposed by the government.
"We did this in Spain four months ago," she told me. "I'm the happiest person now--my life changed. It started with a big demonstration--300,000 people were there, and about 1 AM people decided to stay."
She said that the police in Spain were videotaped beating protesters, and it drove more and more to join the resistance.
"We were so scared but we were so many they couldn't stop us," she said. "We built a mini city, created assemblies."
Monica and the other organizers have created assemblies here as well, and have in addition to the medical committee a legal committee--there have been several arrests--a security committee, and perhaps most important, a fun committee.
As I was leaving, a group of the activists were marching around the square, accompanied by laughing police officers. On my way out, I asked a couple of construction workers on their break what they thought of the whole scene.
"It's cool," one of them told me.