Occupy Wall Street Protester Stretching the Truth

The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters encamped in the New York financial district (currently in a square next to Ground Zero) have achieved some of their goals and missed others by a long shot.

They did convene on September 17, answering a call from Adbusters. And they are still there. But they number about 200-300, a far cry from the 20,000 they had hoped for. (In all fairness, that was next to impossible to organize in five weeks.)

But now they appear to be stretching their already modest figures. According to a “Communique from those Occupying Wall Street” issued by Jason Ahmadi, 2,000 people convened near Bowling Green park (by the Wall Street Bull statue) on September 17.

It certainly didn’t look like that many people to me. Likely less than 1,000.

The communique also says that all 2,000 gathered at One Liberty Plaza near Ground Zero for a general assembly (consensus-based discussion).

Again, that number seems unrealistic – especially since Ahmadi states earlier that 1,000 people marched from Bowling Green to the plaza. So where did they get the extra 1,000?

Ahmadi states that everyone then bedded down for the night. Certainly not everyone. I saw most people leave and made a rough count of 200-300 when I went home around 12:00 AM.

I’m not the only one with a different count. General Assembly member Doug Singsen said in an email to the group “I think there were about 500-700 people in the GA, which was the peak attendance for the day, but only 200 or so slept over…”

Lorenzo Serna, another GA participant, reckons 200-300 stayed the night.

Organizing an action like this in so little time and getting anyone to sleep over is impressive. When I asked a policeman on Sunday night if it was typical for people to protest this way he said “not like this.”

So why did Ahmadi feel like he had to use such larger, apparently inflated figures.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09-18-2011 [8:30 AM]
Contact: Jason Ahmadi: 408-529-8683 – jason.ahmadi@gmail.com

We Occupy Wall Street

This is the first communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street.

On September 17th, 2011, approximately 2,000 of us marched on the Financial District. At twelve noon, a detachment of us marched on the head of Wall Street and formed a spontaneous blockade, prompting the New York Police Department to threaten arrest. Speakers including the Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping, and actress Rosanne Barr spoke on the steps of the American Indian Smithsonian Museum to the crowd, which included conscious rappers Lupe Fiasco and Immortal Technique.

Over 1,000 of us marched from Bowling Green Park amid heavy police presence, across the Financial District and chanting “Wall Street is our street” and “power to the people, not to the banks.” Many stayed at One Liberty Plaza, where later in the evening a meal was served and water was distributed. Song, dance, puppetry, and other art added cheer across the plaza.

Two thousand strong, we held a general assembly, based upon a consensus-driven decision-making process. Decisions were made for the group to occupy One Liberty Plaza in the Wall Street corridor through the evening, bedding down in sleeping bags and donated blankets. [By 7 AM ET Sunday morning, we still held the plaza under constant police presence.] Another assembly is scheduled for 10 AM ET today.

We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choices to march on Wall Street to our decision to camp at One Liberty Plaza were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group.

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