Yesterday's huge anti-war/anti-Bush march had thousands of protesters damning the current administration as GOPers get ready the Republican National Covention, which starts today. Overall, it was peaceful and pretty tame, save for some papier mache dragon burning which gave a police officer third-degree burns and a protester an arson charge, but there were still about 240 arrests, the most sensitive area being around 34th Street. Police claimed that some protesters had smoke bombs and ball bearings hidden in their signs; the NY Times has a good article about the police's new tactics, which paints a picture of the NYPD being more orderly and a combination of calm (not flinching when "feces" are being thrown at them) and then suddenly reactive (arresting innocent bystanders). And the police were also arresting unwitting celebrities: Actress Rosario Dawson, a co-star and her director were arrested as they were trying to film a scene with the protest as scenery - a protest scene for cheap. The Daily News reports that she was wearing a black bandana on her face; no word on how Dawson and company felt about the bologna sandwiches at the holding pen.
There are, of course, conflicting reports of how many protesters actually were present: United for Peace and Justice said over 400,000, while the NYPD said it was closer to 120,000. The Daily News' Juan Gonzalez notes that in the end, Central Park made a guess about the attendance: "Suffice to say, you could toss the entire Republican and Democratic conventions together, and add a day's attendance at the Olympics in Athens, and still not come close to the number of anti-Bush marchers who filled Manhattan yesterday." UPJ organizer Leslie Cagan said, "I think it wildly exceeded our expectations. There's a broad cross-section of this country that is deeply opposed to the Bush agenda. That's just the tip of the iceberg. There's something much deeper going on here."
Here's Gothamist's roundup of photobloggers at the protest. Tim Hall also has a vog (video blog) of the protest. And speaking of protest, you can see ACT UP's protest (aka the naked protest) via CSPAN's video archive! See the search results here. Not sure if hours and hours of the protest will be online, though you can see some clips through WCBS, WNBC, WABC, and NY1.
Above photo is from a day at the protest by Michael Cosentino/Meccapixel.