Occupy Wall Street's Kitchen Working Group says they gave out approximately 3,000 meals yesterday as part of a Thanksgiving celebration at Zuccotti Park. Because of restrictions on large packages inside the park, the prepared meals were distributed outside the barricades, and protesters brought their plates into Zuccotti for an afternoon picnic, which was all sunshine and rainbows until the cops came in to silence the drummers.
Officers claimed that a neighboring resident had complained about three drummers playing what the Daily News describes as Spanish timbales and a cowbell, but the protesters weren't buying it. The Observer reports that one man called to the group of officers: "My friend lives in that apartment block. Do you want me to call him and ask if that’s true, which I know it’s not?" According to the AP, approximately 200 protesters surrounded the cops as they tried to negotiate with the drummers. "Why don't you arrest the drummers in the Thanksgiving parade?" one yelled.
“I think this is a reasonable request,” a cop reportedly told the lead drummer, John Eustor, 46 from Ashbury Park, N.J., an unemployed computer programmer and musician. Eustor at first refused to stop playing, but eventually he and the others acquiesced, vowing to return today to, as the News puts it, "bother Black Friday shoppers in the neighborhood." Eustor tells the tabloid, "Drumming is freedom of speech. It’s non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience."
Meanwhile, another protester wandered the park in a Santa Claus suit with a list of “naughty” people that included former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Bank of America foreclosed on the North Pole, then I flew here in my sleigh and the NYPD towed my sleigh," Santa told CBS 2. "So now I’m here in Zuccotti Park protesting the 1 percent."
Toward the end of the festivities, a member of the Kitchen group announced, "We served 2,500 meals today at Zuccotti. We also sent 500 meals to local communities." NewYorkist reports that they also sent meals to a church on 86th Street, "the Far Rockaway occupation, 477 [Harlem], and the New School." And canned food was collected to donate to food pantries. After everyone had their fill, a smaller group of demonstrators headed up to Macy's to join Reverend Billy in a "Buy Nothing Day" protest against Black Friday consumerism.