The double entendre of the day’s name is certainly not lost on the demonstrators. Sure, the calendar reads May 1st, but Occupy protesters are looking to call attention to sinking economic equality across the nation. From coast to coast, protesters are planning demonstrations as part of a “General Strike” to coincide with International Workers Day. Immigration rights groups, labor unions and the Occupy movement are banding together Tuesday to stir up acts of civil disobedience across the country.
(PHOTOS: May Day protests around the world)
The movement is seeking a “day without the 99 percent,” calling for protesters to skip work and refuse to patronize corporations in hopes of shutting down commerce for the day. And the planned protests will feature “creative disruptions against the corporations who rule our city,” the Occupy movement explained on their website.
In New York City’s Bryant Park, a pop-up occupation is planned, with thousands of protesters expected to flood the park, which is nestled amid some of the city’s largest corporations – Bank of America owns a skyscraper adjacent to the park. Rain and thunderstorms descended upon the city early, but the Occuweather Twitter feed is tracking the storms with an optimistic bent, reporting the worst weather is “almost over” and trying to stir up continued support despite the downpours.
At noon, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is expected to lead the gathered protesters in what the movement is calling a “guitarmy,” with musicians playing “worldwide rebel songs” in a march from Bryant Park to Union Square.
Protests are planned nationwide, with a call to block the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco reportedly scrapped at the last minute. But organizers in Northern California are still calling for occupations of bus and ferry terminals, whose unionized workers have been without a contract for. In Los Angeles, protests are expected around Rodeo Drive, one of the city’s most posh avenues.
Today’s May Day protests are thought to be the most visible effort of the Occupy movement since last fall, when their encampments were still set up in cities across the country. Nearly all jurisdictions have booted the protesters from their campsites in public squares – including New York’s now-famous Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Now in their seventh month of presence in the American cultural movement, the Occupy protests have been largely silent through the winter, but organizers are hoping May Day will prove the protests can quickly come out of hibernation.