Nearly 20,000 people march on Wall Street
I must say, I witnessed something very special yesterday in lower Manhattan. I have never seen anything like this. People with different ideas, beliefs, and agendas gathered to make positive change.
An estimated 15,000 people peacefully marched up Broadway from Zuccotti Park to Foley Square. This new movement is called Occupy Wall Street. The movement reached an amazing turn out today, including at least 15 major labor unions such as the United Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, and the Transit Workers Union.
The march was carefully organized and amazingly orderly considering the enormity of the participation. I felt safe and protected the whole time I was at the event (nearly three hours). The organizers of Occupy Wall Street had placed members spread out over short distances along the way to the rallying point in Foley Square to direct marchers and to keep the event non-violent, peaceful, and law-abiding.
The march was loud but calm and even cheerful. The protesters carried colorful placards and banners to make their point. Some placards said, “We are the 99” or “Stop Corporate Greed” and others had environmental messages. Some protesters wore eye-catching costumes and make-up to express their concerns and ideas. Some danced or played drums or guitars as they marched.
One person I interviewed was a Vietnam veteran. He tearfully told me that he was so happy to see that all those people came together to voice themselves and exercised our freedom of speech. I also met one family of six from Brooklyn, New York, who took time out to be part of this historic event. The family had four children who were holding handmade banners.
This protest may have begun with young Americans but from what I saw has now become inclusive of all ages and nationalities. Being at the march, I felt like I was part of an event that will be remembered for a long time.
Be sure to check out my report on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website!
Editor’s Note: Cecilia and I were at the Occupy Wall Street rally yesterday for nearly three hours. After we left, and the protesters marched back to Zuccotti Park, altercations erupted between police and protesters according to people at the scene who posted videos online. Some protesters were hit with clubs, while others were sprayed with mace. We didn’t witness these events, but it’s important to ackowledge that they happened as part of the march and rally yesterday.
Photo: Four kids hold up a sign during the Occupy Wall Street protest yesterday. (Photo: Dante A. Ciampaglia)