Occupy wants general strike on May 1
This past weekend marked the six-month anniversary of the Occupy movement and hundreds of protesters took to the streets of New York City to commemorate the milestone. It wouldn’t be an en masse Occupy protest without a little police brutality, of course, and as expected members of the NYPD were seen using excessive forces on protesters as occupiers marched through the city on Saturday. By Sunday it was reported that 73 demonstrators had been detained by the Police Department and several participants laid claims that they were brutally beaten by the Big Apple’s boys in blue during the ordeal. In response to the ongoing attacks from the NYPD, members of Occupy Wall Street are urging people across the globe to join in a day of action on May 1, 2012.
Protesters had preliminarily planned for a May 1 day of action in several cities with a significant OWS presence, but following this weekend’s mishap in Manhattan, planners are asking others to take the protests up a notch and endorse a general strike this spring. Organizers hope that others will join them in protest on May 1 by staying home from work and school and refraining from spending money. Similar strikes were waged last year in Oakland, California, although one on scale with what protesters hope this time around has not been attempted.
On Monday, occupiers in New York held a press conference where they once again chastised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly for their ongoing attacks against the movement and formally called for a one-day general strike.
Although the Occupy movement has been largely condemned by elected officials — as evident by the series of evictions this winter across the country — several politicians joined protesters this weekend to offer their support. Among them was Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democratic city council member from Manhattan.
"I am here today because Saturday night I saw the New York Police Department using brutal, excessive force arresting people who were protesting peacefully," Rodriguez said over the weekend. "We are calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to fight for our constitutional rights as hard as they fight terrorism."
Mayor Bloomberg, who previously defended the NYPD’s practice of keeping credentialed journalists from covering Occupy protests, again offered his support for the city’s cop force. "This police department knows how to control crowds without excessive force," the mayor responded this week. "They do allow you to protest but they don't let it get out of hand." Despite the mayor’s insistence, however, others attest that the NYPD continues to crack down on occupiers without reason.
Across the country in Oakland, California, occupiers held a general strike this past November, bringing thousands of protesters to the streets. In that instance, the demonstration came but days after a US war vet, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull after being hit in the head by a police-fired projectile. With violence at the hands of the police still not ceasing on either coast, occupiers are all but ready to forfeit their movement.