Occupy Wall Street Gears Up for the Big Day: November 17

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/ows-n17-occupy-wall-street

OWS protestors hope to make Thursday the biggest day of action yet. Are they ready?

—By Josh Harkinson
November 16, 2011

At 7 a.m. tomorrow Occupy Wall Street will attempt to live up to its name. Hundreds of activists will converge upon the Street’s most famous address—the New York Stock Exchange—in a coordinated attempt to shut it down. The blockade will be the first protest in a long day of carefully-planned demonstrations to mark what would have been the two-month anniversary of the occupation of Zuccotti Park.

“Most of the focus has been to figure out how to take this pretty radical action and figure out how it can help us build our movement and make OWS more accessible,” says Logan Price, a protest organizer. In particular, organizers want to make sure that lingering outrage over the eviction of the occupiers doesn’t lead to violent confrontations with police. “If we aren’t careful those actions can undermine the 99 percent thing.”

To keep that from happening, experts in nonviolent protest techniques held trainings this evening in a nurses union office a few blocks from the park. Lisa Fithian, who helped organize the 1999 WTO protests, kicked things off with a series of role playing games. People pretending to be NYSE workers, police, and members of the media offered challenges. The group practiced ways to block off streets and gracefully get arrested.

“Does somebody want to be a cop and come get me?” asked Fithian, who wore a black t-shirt and sneakers. A young woman with curly red hair chased her around the room. Then she demonstrated another approach: As big guy in dreadlocks rushed her, she slowly backed up and said, “Officer, I’m cooperating!” What was demonstrated by running away?, she asked. “Guilt. We are doing something wrong.”

If everything goes according to plan tomorrow, the protesters will sit down, lock arms, and keep enough people out of the NYSE to stop the morning bell. Of course, mass arrests are all but inevitatable. Fithian and a representative of the National Lawyers Guild went through how to deal with tear gas, what not to say to police, and how to dress for jail. (Layers. “It could be hot or it could be cold,” she said.)

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/11/ows-n17-occupy-wall-street

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