The borough saw its fair share of protesters after thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and funneled into Cadman Plaza Park.
The Occupy Wall Street movement’s “Day of Action” on Thursday, to commemorate its two-month anniversary, was intense in Manhattan, with hundreds of arrests, but the general assembly in the Brooklyn park was passionate and civil -
The thousands of people who marched over the East River, starting in Manhattan’s Foley Square, arrived in Brooklyn at around 7 p.m. The seemingly unending line of people were chanting, playing instruments and holding signs. Some read: “Tax the Millionaires,” “Occupy Brooklyn” and “Middle Class, Employed and OUTRAGED.”
Just inside Cadman Plaza Park, a man held an American flag, but the stripes were composed of all 343 names of the firefighters who died in 9/11.
“I am here because when my country is in trouble I go to the front lines,” said Paul Isaac from Park Slope, who was a fireman at Engine Company 10 during 9/11. He said he cannot climb stairs anymore because of his diminished lung capacity, which he blames on the air at Ground Zero. “First and foremost, I am an American patriot, but those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
An organizer of Occupy Brooklyn, Leslie Fine, a 26-year-old woman who lives in Bushwick, said the Occupy movement is about how people have been struggling in America for a long time and not until the country reached “a boiling point” did people take action.
“I believe in social justice and bringing people together to fight injustice,” she said as she stood behind a giant black banner that read: Occupy Brooklyn. “This movement is a rare moment to stand up for what you believe in.”
Earlier today at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, .
After the crowd surged and some dispersed, to either go back to Zuccotti Park or go home, a group of a couple hundred met at the Brooklyn War Memorial, which is a 24-foot limestone wall which is dedicated to the 300,000 Americans who died in War World II, in the park to hold a general assembly.
“Mic Check!” a protester yelled as police stood at bay and helicopters circled overhead. “We crossed the bridge tonight for this historic moment the five boroughs will never forget!"
Another activist took the imaginary microphone and yelled:
“Let’s start brainstorming about serious actions against the one percent!”
“This is not only about money,” the protester shouted. “It is about building a better society. We need to prove to each other that we care about each other.”
James Gleason, a man from Crown Heights, was standing just outside the group of people in the park and was holding a sign that read: “Corporations are persons that eat their young if they get hungry.”
He said he came out tonight to specifically protest how the police have been responding to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“The behavior of police against peaceful protests requires people to stand up and say this is unacceptable,” Gleason said. “We should not have to endure the NYPD’s aggressive, intimidating and violent tactics in our city.”
One of the more creative and intricate visual aides in the rally was a giant puppet of Lady Liberty, which was built by the Occupy Wall Street Puppet Guild out of newspaper, cardboard and glue.
The designer and puppet master, Joe Therrien of Prospect Heights, said that he wanted to convey a message that was obvious.
“Lady Liberty symbolizes freedom from oppression and now more people are being oppressed by the one percent more than ever before,” Therrien said. “She will lead us to freedom.”
The crowd was still roaring by 9 p.m., chanting, “Occupy Brooklyn!” Even though it was a long day and a cold night, people were not leaving. They were occupying.
“Somewhere along the line, we got bamboozled out of our own interests,” said a man who was wearing yellow-tinted sunglasses, a conductor’s hat and would only identify himself as a Prospect Heights resident. “We are on the earth to survive, and if we are supposed to survive then we need to work together. That’s what we are doing tonight: working together to get us out of this economic and immoral mess and get us to safety.”