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A31 Report From the Streets

This is a summary of things that I ran into and saw while in NYC yesterday. So, The day started early. I was up and downtown by 11 am for the Save Our Civil Liberties rally and march. The action was a theatre piece and march that would start at Columbus Park in Downtown Manhattan and go to Federal Plaza, also in Downtown. The march consisted of about 300-400 protestors with a heavy police prescense. [ PICTURES 1 I PICTURES 2 ]
So, The day started early. I was up and downtown by 11 am for the Save Our Civil Liberties rally and march. The action was a theatre piece and march that would start at Columbus Park in Downtown Manhattan and go to Federal Plaza, also in Downtown. The march consisted of about 300-400 protestors with a heavy police prescense. [ PICTURES 1 I PICTURES 2 ]

This march was just the beginning of what became a joint action. There was the march, and then the theatre piece. The theatre played on the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanemo and others. It consisted of a binding the hands of protestors, putting them in hoods and forcing them to be in uncomfortable situations. Now, the organizers of this didnt really subject folks to torture, but attempted to bring to the American public that this stuff exists. And make the tie between these prisons and the supposed "free speech" that exists in the United States. [ Pictures ]

During the demonstration, a statement was read to the press and shortly after that one of the "detainees" jumped up and tore off her hood, and exclaimed her freedom and denounced the torture and repression that so many people see (from the hands of us imperialism) all around the globe. She ended her statement by saying "Ya Basta, Enough is Enough" and soon enough the crowd assembled chanted along for a few minutes.

The crowd was dispersed as the police approached someone in a tree and arrested him. The scene was chaotic. No one knew at the time why the man was being arrested and the cops were surging at people trying to clear a line, but there was so much media there that the cops couldnt hold them back and they kept getting in front of the police to get the shots. I beleive this arrest was the tenth of day. [ PICTURES ]

Things were slow from where I stood for awhile, we went to St. Marks church and met up with the Food Not Bombs and Seeds of Peace folks there. Mingled with all the other folks there that we knewd, just kind of waiting until 4pm when the direct actions were set to begin.

At 4 we set off north towards Madison Square Garden. We took the Subway, and you cannot go to Madison Square Garden, which is the Penn Station stop, becuase the police basically closed down Penn Station. So we could go to the stop before or after (23rd or 42nd st) we chose 42nd st. Times Square. At 42nd, we walked towards Madison Square Garden, saw a banner drop that read: NO TO OCCUPATION YES TO EDUCATION (bad picture). Then, after talking on the phone to some folks we decided to head to 34th and Broadway, Herald Square. Where there was a bunch of action going on.

Atg Herald Sq, the police had the entire area closed off, you could get up to the sidewalk but not past it. It appeared that MSNBC was taping their show "Hardball" on the square and thats why people were out there. We were there for quite a bit capturing photos and calling ito the radio line, there wasnt much going on, the police were milling about and protesters weere doing various levels of preotest. Including, chanting, sitting in, singing, yelling, and that kind of stuff. We were looking for something else, not a potential hairy situation where the police can just block us all off and arrest us. So we started to move around the square and out to 5th ave. [ PICTURES ]

Once out onto 5th Ave, we were waiting for someone and shortly after we found them we heard a loud chanting and saw a bunch of people coming our way down 5th. We quickly ran out into the streets. The group of about 150 seemed to be defectors from the pen at Herald Sq. and they were without police at the time we caught up with them. They were throwing orange cones and things like that into the streets, some linked arms and took over the three lanes while the majority were in the one lane. After turning down 28th (i beleive) and then sprinting from being chased by the cops, the march took off down Madison...in full run. I was on the phone talking to web radio while running, and didnt catch how we got where we did, but we stopped running around 24th and Park, i walked back up to 26th and Park where the police had caught the bulk of the march and were in the process of arresting folks. There were four people on the ground when I arrived and the police were still arriving, about 100 riot cops came in in full run, just knocking over people to get to the street and then pushing people back once they got in fron tof them. After the scene got really tense and the police just had it on lockdown we left again. [ PICTURES ]

After walking around for a bit and looking for our friends, we decided to call it a night.
Check the portland.indy newswire and the nyc.indy newswire for more information on A31.