A year ago today, Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park began protests over unjust power and financial structures. Subsequent, substantial coverage for their protests began to follow from there.
So far today, dozens of arrests have been logged as protesters attempted to block access to the New York Stock Exchange after marching in the early morning hours and waving “Happy Birthday” banners.
Yesterday, Bishop George Packard (previously arrested and convicted of trespassing at Trinity Wall Street) was again arrested.
The New York Police Department arrested fewer than a dozen activists, led by retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, who refused to move from a checkpoint along the broad perimeter police had set up to block access to the NYSE by anyone other than exchange workers who showed identification.
Occupy activists had pledged to disrupt the morning commute in lower Manhattan as part of a day of actions in New York and other cities aimed at rejuvenating a movement that has failed to sustain momentum after sparking a national conversation about economic inequality last fall.
On Friday, Bishop Packard’s blog anticipated yesterday’s actions using the tone of someone who’s been there, done that.
In these latter days there’s been a welcome shift in emphasis to training in civil disobedience and street tactics. It’s a vital thing to do; I’ve noticed a dark cloud descend over us when we have not committed to this preparation. On both December 15th and May 1st when I–and a few comrades–looked over our shoulders at the crowd of promised support it had evaporated. They had run for cover. It’s not a bad thing to avoid being taken into custody but you want to be proud that you chose that option. Saving yourself for other actions later in the day is good thing.
Packard, of course, is not the only cleric to have suffered for the sake of conscience with regard to Occupy.
Meanwhile, questions abound as a year’s worth of protests comes to a close. Some are asking “Whatever happened to Occupy Wall Street?” while others want to know if the institutional church will really ever lend its moral and physical support.