FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Scenes from the Streets of New York

I started off at Union Square, where what was probably the most boisterous of the feeder marches was gathered–lots of NYC students. Police were everywhere. We headed over to 6th ave and then uptown, at first sticking to the sidewalks but by around the 20s people were taking over the street. The cops met us full force at about 24th St. some of them had their night sticks out, and there was lots of bluster and yelling. Suddenly everyone was running down 24th, making a break for it, but there were masses of cops on 5th avenue as well, including a fairly silly looking squad on scooters, lined up in the scooter version of battle formation. A nice moment at Madison Square, where a double-decker tourist bus got stopped in the traffic chaos caused by the march, tourists squealing with delight at the interruption in their otherwise choreographed visit to the city — lots of photos taken — and as their bus pulled away this group of middle-aged presumptive midwesterners got up to their feet and gave the marchers a standing ovation.

We headed back toward 6th Avenue but before we reached it, on a sidestreet, the police held up the march. Again, lots of yelling: marchers yelling at police, police yelling at marchers, police yelling at police. The arrival of a company of mounted police only heightened the tension. finally they started letting people move again, but in a trickle of small, controllable groups.

Small controllable groups, as it turned out, were the theme the day. Not content with reducing the march to a stationary rally, the bloomberg team apparently decided to lessen the rally’s strength by drastically limiting the density of the crowd. Essentially, the police strategy was to divide the east side up into a series of pens, thus breaking the crowd into manageable chunks. One imagined that they had studied the herding techniques of some giant texas ranching operation. I was lucky enough to hit upon the right combination of streets and police so that I actually reached the podium at 52nd and 1st Ave, but no one else I know got that far.

Using barricades, police blocked the sidestreets so protesters couldn’t get over to 1st avenue. Supposedly people had to detour all the way up to about 70th St to be able to cut over, although a couple of friends said that the police blocking their paths wouldn’t tell them anything beyond the obvious fact that they weren’t allowed to go over to 1 St.

I didn’t catch that many of the speeches, but those I did hear — including Angela davis, Tony Kushner and Danny Gover — were an improvement over Washington. Unfortunately, given the strict way that the police controlled the crowd, there was a fair amount of empty space in the couple of blocks in front of the stage.

I only saw one anti-anti-war protester, with an appropriately stupid and mean-spirited sign: “Nuke Iraq.”

The general atmosphere was happy and exhilarating, despite the police obstruction.

The rally’s very best sign: “somewhere in texas there’s a village missing an idiot.”

Here are a couple of accounts passed along from friends on other blocks:

Mad Bicylclists

I joined up with a uerilla band of mad bicyclists during the demonstration. In this band were grandmothers, messengers, me, and everything in between. We rode around trying to breach the police lines and attempt to reclaim the streets for demonstrators who were hemmed in, blocked and forced back time and again. We met a wonderful bike activist and author from Chicago named Travis Hugh Culley. He is a performer and agitator in the Yippie tradition. It was inspiring to see him close down an intersection with performances and other antics. He got arrested and was later released. He also organizes and curates art shows with bike themes in Chicago. His book is called “The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power” published by Random House. The group was a smart mob using cell phones, walky talkies and IM cells. We moved quickly from place to place trying to find spots to led the crowd out . Interesting experience . Got some good video. — F.S.

Give Us Back Our Streets

We went to the march with Zoe and another friend and their five year old. We got as far as Second Avenue and 60th Street. They kept trying to get us to go further north. I videotaped what I could the highlight being a guy being arrested as the crowd was chanting “let us through” and “give back the streets” it was looking like it could get ugly and so they were holed up in a Dunken Donuts on the other side of the barricade at 3rd Avenue. We had to leave around 2pm cuz it was too cold for the kids. O was wondering if there was a way to collectively put together a videotape of all the images collected? Let me know if you know someone doing this. –B.

JOANNE MARINER is a human rights lawyer in New York. She can be reached at: mariner@counterpunch.org

 

More articles by:

JOANNE MARINER is a human rights lawyer living in New York and Paris.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail