by Siddiq Mohammed.
When Occupy Wall Street began, I was very doubtful about it. The movement seemed very disorganized. But before Zuccotti Park got dismantled, I visited, which completely changed my mind. I was also moved when I saw protesters stand against the tuition hikes with the students from City College.
Some news outlets only report the negative and violent things about the Occupy movement. But what I saw was a very peaceful and motivating demonstration. During my visit to Zuccotti Park I came across many protestors who had nothing but good things to say about the cops and vice versa.
A man who referred to himself as “the safest man in New York City,” said “there’s always that one person who messes it up for us. The cops are really cool and I’m glad they are here.”
Many law enforcement officers seemed to feel the same way too. One officer I spoke to said he thinks it’s a great thing that these people are doing even though he doesn’t know much about it.
Still, others, especially those who live in the area near the park, disagree. Jeff Gary said he believes that the protestors need to go home. “I think for two months they disrupted life and I’m not happy with that,” Gary said, before being cut off by a group of protestors. One of the demonstrators shouted “get out of here” to Gary, saying he doesn’t belong there.
For the most part, though, things were peaceful. The rules around the park were very strict. For example you were not allowed to bring a musical instrument inside the park. One man walked in with a trumpet and was thrown out by a group of park people and officers. The man then stood outside and blew his trumpet and said, “I blow it much softer in there than I do out here.”
As it got later on in the day more and more people began to show up. After 7pm, more than 200 people were present in the park. Most showed up for the meeting scheduled to discuss any updates about the protest.
The leaders and speakers did not have megaphones or microphones to amplify their voices; instead they used the people: Every time the speaker would finish a sentence, a group of people would repeat what he or she said, then another group would do so.
I’m glad I was proven wrong about the Occupy Wall Street movement. I learned that sometimes you need to experience something before you can make a judgment on it.