LOU REED, LAURIE ANDERSON, PHILIP GLASS AND SCORES OF PROTESTERS OCCUPY LINCOLN SQUARE, NYC
Tonight was my first encounter with the OCCUPY movement. Tonight I had a chance to contribute my voice along side the likes of Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, and scores of other concerned peaceful protesters. The general assemble of the OWS had placed a call for the peacefull occupation of Lincoln Center to coincide with the closing performance of Satyagraha, an opera about the life of Gandhi and detailing the very causes of what the OCCUPY movement has come to represent. Upon arrival at the square I am immediately confronted with police barricades and officers cordoning off access to the square from the street. The irony here is somewhat infuriating for the crowd, as what was hours ago a public space, is now an offensive police strategy to disenfranchise, intimidate, and even taunt protesters. As the crowed gathered momentum there was a visible tension between the police and the crowd, which makes its intention of PEACEFUL PROTEST quite clear.
What happened next was nothing short of what could be called the 'miracle' of the manifestation of intention. Even though we were physically barred from entering the square protesters call out to the steady stream of Opera goers now exiting the center to join our cause. To the astonishment of some patrons of the Opera, they are met with resistance by the police as they attempt to cross the plaza to where the protesters are gathered. I witnessed a few confrontations with very angry, shocked and surprised patrons and the police. One man actually laid down on the ground in blatant defiance (mind you these are up to $400 a seat ticket holders - the spectacle was beautiful!). During this time Philip Glass the composer (on our side of the line) begins to address the crowd - and this is where the 'miracle' kicks in - in a kind of critical mass Opera goers just overwhelm a-sort-of scattered and confused police presence (on their side) and flock to the barricade - where they join us on the other side.
At this moment Lincoln Square had been peacefully occupied by two separate bodies of people each on opposite sides of a police barricad! For about two and a-half hours the mass huddled. People took turns speaking in the cold, of which I was one. The validation of what this idea is about becomes ever-clearer.
this from the perspective of an exiting audience member of Satyagraha!