Okay, there was no tea. I’ll make the tea-bagging connection later. But there was violence. And racism of course. The protesters told me so!
May 1, 2010, a very warm Saturday in Union Square, Manhattan. I honestly forgot it was May Day until I came above ground after riding the subway in from Astoria, Queens. Right across the street was the gathering in the park, lots of fancy, professionally-printed signs and someone yelling a speech all in Spanish. Because I’m a troublemaker and a jerk, I shouted LA MIGRA! LA MIGRA! a few times and flipped off the lady who told me I wasn’t a true Native American, either. I also thought “Union” Square was pretty fitting, since the New York May 1 Coalition is of course sponsored by UNIONS. Then my friend and I went to lunch on E. 12th.
About an hour later we were heading to a concert on the NYU campus, and started walking down Broadway toward Astor Place. We started hearing lots of police sirens all at once, and then looked straight ahead. There were young guys with baseball bats and Che signs pinned to their backpacks running down the street smashing store windows, all on the west side of Broadway. We stopped dead on a corner, because there were police cars coming from so many different directions the street lights were rendered meaningless. As soon as we stopped, about 6 NYPD units pulled up to our exact corner and the cops jumped out and tackled two of the vandals literally TWO FEET in front of me. Some other officers arrived, jumped out of their cars, and started a crazy foot pursuit of another guy who started running in zig-zags down the middle of Broadway. They tackled him as well, in the middle of the freakin’ street, as cars kept almost hitting everyone involved. It happened incredibly quickly. There were tons of eyewitnesses, and I even saw a few people videotaping, but of course I can’t find mention of this incident anywhere online or in the media. We had about five minutes to get to the concert, so stopping and gawking wasn’t an option. We just kept walking, tried to get away from the whole mess. But we could see and hear police interviewing plenty of witnesses, and heard people say “they just kept breaking windows”, and saw the perps with their faces in the pavement for ourselves. I could describe them to you, but that would be utterly and totally racist.
After we left the concert about an hour and a half later, we noticed NYPD wearing reflective yellow and orange jerseys standing not only at every street corner, but also in front of almost every open business that had a glass storefront. We’re talking businesses several blocks away from the protest. We went back over to Broadway on the way to the subway to look at the stores that had been vandalized. They were cleaned up mostly, but one owner of a costume jewelry store we talked to was very scared. Just as we got there, we heard bullhorns and yelling, and of course, the protest was now starting to make its way down Broadway. They had definitely grown in numbers, as did the number of law enforcement surrounding them. SI SE PUEDE was the chant du jour, and the majority of the signs were about RACISM or apartheid. And Arizona, of course. Forget Workers’ Day, this turned into an almost exclusively Anti-Arizona rally, as it did across the country.
The two pictures above were taken with my crappy Blackberry camera, but if you want to see a whole lot of signs from the day, this is a good place to look. While searching for possible amateur videos of the incidents I experienced, I found this video tribute to the day’s events. Watch for a bit, I promise a great deal of entertainment. It has probably the best theme song I have ever heard (listen to the words), and a cinematographer who quickly gets bored with focusing on the protest at hand and moves on to boobs and butts.
Oh yeah, the “teabagging”. Right before we got to the Skirball (ha, BALL) Center for the performance, we saw a man in his fifties or so walking into his apartment building with some groceries. Wearing VERY short shorts. And ALL of his junk hanging out. Like, all of it. It was quite a day.
Dan’s Update: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link, and here is video of people with the same MO smashing windows of businesses in Santa Cruz: