In honor of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday and the conclusion of the Occupy National Gathering in Philidelphia, PA on July 5th, the Occupy Guitarmy, a group of musicians and activists, set out on a 7 day march to New York City, arriving by Staten Island Ferry on July 11 at 3pm.
Despite just completing a long, grueling march during a humid week in July, The Guitarmy marchers arrived in surprisingly good spirits, singing and playing Occupy Wall Street songs, and were met by a highly supportive group of fellow protestors and musicians, as well as NYPD at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The 99 Mile March continued on thru the Financial District to Federal Hall, until reaching its final destination in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's original camp site in Manhattan also known as Liberty Square. Zuccotti Park was in a sense, “reoccupied” by Occupy Wall Street Protestors for the first time in months, following the NYPD raid in November of 2011. The Guitarmy continued to play songs in Liberty Square, joined by a park full of around 200 supporters – surrounded by police and park officials.
The first arrest occurred on the west side of the park, a man playing a snare drum, followed by the arrest of a photographer who was documenting the arrest. I found it slightly interesting that it took at least 3 NYPD officers to take down and handcuff one photographer. An older woman dressed as Lady Liberty was assaulted by NYPD officers and knocked unconscious. Apparently they could handle her size much better, considering she just walked 99 miles in sweltering heat. Occupy Wall Street medics helped the woman until ambulance assistance arrived, while NYPD did nothing more that push people, along with NYPD TARU unit videotaping, violating the Handschu Decree which permits the NYPD to videotape only where criminal activity is actively occurring.
NYPD and park security continued to monitor all in attendance at Zuccotti Park for the rest of the day, claiming reasons that did not coincide with the park rules, which is required to remain open to the public 24 hours a day. They harassed a man not affiliated with OWS, for laying down on a bench. After sunset, the park was surrounded by approximately 200 police officers, claiming the 150 or so protestors had to leave the public park or would all be arrested. They physically grabbed by the arm and remove from the park, a 56 year-old trembling woman, for knitting in a lawn chair. This was followed by the arrest of another man, who was helping the woman knitting to pick up her belongings, according to witnesses.
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