Man Climbs Zuccotti Park Structure As Occupy Wall Street Enters Sixth Week
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)– After a Canadian man finally came down from the metal structure at the corner of Zuccotti Park after four hours, many onlookers thought his actions reflect poorly on the movement.
“You’re an idiot. You’re climbing up there. You’re causing all this ruckus. The kids were here. A reckless spectacle,” one man told 1010 WINS.
Dylan Spoelstra, 24, of Toronto, climbed the sculpture around 5 a.m. and said he wasn’t coming down until Mayor Michael Bloomberg resigned. Officials convinced him to come down around 9:15 a.m., but not before he did some damage to the movement, one protester said.
“My concern is that people will use that one instance as a marker for what this whole movement is about,” she said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg on the protester
It’s unknown what the connection is between Spoelstra and the Occupy Wall Street organizations, CBS 2’s Mark Morgan reported. Police said he would be sent to Bellevue Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation. It’s not clear if he will face criminal charges.
This stalemate comes after the Occupy Wall Street movement received an emotional and inspirational boost from folk music legends Pete Seeger and ‘60s folk singer Arlo Guthrie. The musicians joined demonstrators on Friday in their campaign against corporate greed while residents near the protest park encampment pushed to regain some peace and quiet in their neighborhood.
Seeger joined in the Occupy Wall Street protest Friday night, replacing his banjo with two canes as he marched with throngs of people in New York City’s Upper West Side past banks and shiny department stores.
The 92-year-old Seeger, accompanied by musician-grandson Tao Rodriguez Seeger, composer David Amram, and bluesman Guy Davis, shouted out the verses of protest anthems as the crowd of about 1,000 people sang and chanted.
They marched peacefully over more than 30 blocks from Symphony Space, where the Seegers and other musicians performed, to Columbus Circle. Police watched from the sidelines.
Occupy Wall Street began a month ago in lower Manhattan among a few young people, and has grown to tens of thousands around the country and the world. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll says more than one-third of the country supports the Wall Street protesters, and even more — 58 percent — say they are furious about America’s politics.
But the encampment at Zuccotti Park has become more than a tolerable nuisance, some neighborhood residents say. At a meeting Thursday, they complained of protesters urinating in the streets and beating drums in the middle of the night. Some called for the protesters to vacate the park.
“There is drumming, there are trumpets, there are bugles, there are tambourines,” lower Manhattan resident Ro Sheffe said. “There’s yelling and shouting and chanting late into the night.”
The area’s community board voted unanimously for a resolution that recognized the protesters’ First Amendment rights while calling for a crackdown on noise and public urination and defecation.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and state Sen. Daniel Squadron said in a statement that the resolution was “an attempt to establish a sensible framework that respects the protesters’ fundamental rights while addressing the very real quality of life concerns for residents and businesses around Zuccotti Park.”
Asked about Occupy Wall Street on WOR Radio on Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the protesters’ leaderless structure has made it difficult to negotiate with them. Still, he recognized the noise complaints and said that it’s one issue that’s moved to the top of his Occupy Wall Street concerns.
“Drumming doesn’t exactly I don’t know if a judge would say that’s a part of protesting, but a lot of people say their kids can’t sleep at night so we’ll eventually have to work something out,” Mayor Bloomberg said on his radio show.
Occupy Wall Street spokesman Han Shan, who has served as a liaison between protesters and local elected officials, agreed the protesters needed to be better neighbors. Shan, who attended the meeting, promised to limit the noise.
Humo Duarte, one drummer, said his group has actually cut back their activity.
“12 to 2 and 4 to 6 so now it’s going shorter until 6 o’clock so I think that’s reasonable for people who live around here and stuff,” he said.
Bloomberg also said the city intends to start enforcing permit requirements for marches and assemblies. The NYPD tells CBS 2 that as long as demonstrators are marching lawfully, meaning they don’t block street traffic or pedestrian traffic, they won’t need a permit.
At Columbus Circle, Seeger and friends walked to the chant of “We are the 99 percent” and “We are unstoppable; another world is possible.” Seeger stopped to bang a metal statue of an elephant with his cane — to cheers from the crowd.
At the center of the plaza, Seeger and Amram were joined by Guthrie in a round of “We Shall Overcome,” a protest anthem made popular by Seeger.
After more singing, Seeger asked for a mic check to tell the crowd: “The words are simple: I could be happy spending my days on the river that flows both way-ay-ays.”
During the march, the younger Seeger, in troubadour fashion like his grandfather, walked among the protesters playing songs. Amra took up a flute and others enlivened the night protest with the sounds of the accordion, banjos, and guitars.
At the front of the throng, marchers held American flags and a large blue flag that said: “Revolution Generation … Debt is Slavery.” Along the way, the crowd sang protest songs made popular or written by Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and others of the protest era.
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