Just six days have elapsed since Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD ran out of patience with #OccupyCityHall, clearing out protestors with cops dressed in riot gear and, in the ensuing days, launching a cleanup to restore City Hall to its pre-occupation state.
But over the weekend, things changed. Again.
An army of cyclists, 1,000 strong, and throngs of protestors on foot followed a path that led from the Brooklyn Bridge back down to City Hall to register their continued discontent over police brutality, particularly its predominance in communities of color.
Many wore yellow in solidarity with the “wall of moms” movement in Portland, Oregon.
As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on reason and peaceful demonstration. On not needing the federal government to intervene to solve our problems.
But this weekend’s protests showed that there is an extremely impassioned, on-the-brink of outright tempestuous movement willing to repeat occupations in order that their voices are heard.
Although the damage done to small businesses in the setting alight of their outdoor dining areas and the graffiti re-tagging’s of the illustrious marble and stone of City Hall itself can be, and should be, decried, the sheer explosiveness and mass presence of the demonstrators achieved something essential to change. It created a spectacle.
This spectacle was captured on smartphones by perhaps amused, perhaps bewildered, perhaps frightened, or perhaps entertained diners. It was then proliferated on social media to let the world know that unrest will continue until real policy change in terms of police defunding, racial targeting and economic support for those left in desperation due to the economic ravaging of COVID-19 transpires.
And as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to sit on his hands over the details of the second round of stimulus checks desperately needed by American’s across the country, demonstrations like these are a reminder that this anger and frustration will not go gentle into that good night.
Washington take note: the movement is primed and ready to ride again.