An estimated 200 protesters are currently gathering in Union Square park as part of a "rally against police suppression of the movement." Gothamist contributor James Thilman tells us Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, & Mary) just sang some songs, including Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," which "has a bunch of folks in their golden years all riled up (and crying with joy!). The rally coincides with a number of gatherings across the country, and will be followed by a march from Union Square at 6 p.m.
According to a website affiliated with today's protest, demonstrators are demanding "No rubber bullets, no beatings, no tear gas, no mass arrests, and drop all charges against Occupiers." Sheesh, can't cops have any fun? The Call for Mass Action manifesto also declares: "Now this movement faces a true crossroads. Will it be dispersed, driven into the margins, or co-opted? Or will it come back stronger? This question now poses itself, extremely sharply." Indeed, a number of wealthy individuals, including Ben & Jerry, announced a donation of over $1 million to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Silk embroidered Keffiyehs for everyone!
Check back for updates as the demonstration and march progresses, and a full report tomorrow morning.
UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: Interesting timing: Human rights lawyer Sarah Knuckey, who works with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, just emailed us to announce that "a coalition of human rights and civil liberties experts announced today that they are conducting a national study of the government response to the Occupy protests. Concerned by reports from numerous cities of excessive police force against protesters, unlawful arrests, and the passing of new laws to curtail protest, the study will investigate whether authorities have adequately respected the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly guaranteed by constitutional and international law...The report will be published in May 2012."