I was in NYC yesterday with my fellow Protest Warriors, the counter-protest group to which I belong. It was an interesting time, what with being attacked by anarchists and all. I got in late last night, so this will be a very brief recap:
We started out yesterday morning, with over a hundred of us carrying signs some of which you can see at the Protest Warrior web site. I was taking video and some stills.
(PW gets ready to move)
The group moved from headquarters to the site the NYPD had picked for us on the parade route. The NYPD was fantastic, staying with us most of the way. After we moved through the streets, we took up our designated location. The interesting thing was the reaction of the leftist protesters as they moved past us. The could not help but stop and stare, trying to understand what we were all about. Perhaps our message is a little too nuanced for some. Some of the people who did get it were very angry, and we had a few birds and "Fuck Yous" directed our way.
(I think our message was a little too "nuanced" for the leftists)
But, freedom of speech being our thing, we were not content to stay on the sidelines, and left in small groups to join in the "peaceful" protestors.
We had broken up into smaller groups of about 15, and my group made our way around and into the big crowd. It took the "peace" protestors a few minutes to figure out that there was something not quite right about our message. Several people were fairly angry with us, but that was nothing until a group of anarchists notice us.
They started yelling at us, and one of there guys got directly in the face of one of our protestors. Not content to try to shout us down, the anarchist grabbed our guy's signs and their group started to tear it apart. At one point they were calling us fascists. I remember replying yelling something back like "Freedom of speech is not fascism, you moron."
Over the next few minutes, thing got a little more chaotic, as the anarchists started going after our signs. Me and couple of other guys had to pull our protestors back more than once, as they were assaulted by the leftists. We had many signs ripped down, and some cheap shots on some of our guys.
I was trying to video and also keep our team calmed down. Later, an annoyed lady in her fifties got very angry at us also, and she was trying to grab signs and tear them up.
Eventually, after we went about 3 blocks, the whole procession came to a standstill. As the crowd around got more unruly, the NYPD apparently had enough. They pushed us our onto a side street, and we were out of the protest.
My group had become separated from the rest, and the NYPD would not let us push back through the protest route to rejoin the main group. So we set back up on a side street, still getting a lot of attention for the leftists as they passed. There was a reporter from the Washington Times who started interviewing some of us at this point. He makes mention of Protest Warrior in his article on the protests.
(Kicked out of the protest, my PW group makes a stand on one of the side streets of the parade route. Rob, a combat medic and vet of the Iraq war, salutes the symbolic coffins that pass by during the protest. Rob resented his fellow soldiers and friends being used as a political prop by leftists. So he remembers his comrades in his own way, standing and saluting in tribute to their sacrifice.)
The leftist group 1000 coffins (link above), brought up the tail end of the protest. (Though the gay pride groups, in a symbolic gesture of their importance to leftists, was at the very end). The coffins symbolized the soldiers who died in Iraq. For some reason, they were not carrying coffins to symbolize all the people who died on 9/11 in NTC, not do they carry coffins to symbolize the hundreds of thousands who were killed by the Hussein regime. But then again, they probably don't have enough members to carry that many coffins.
We finally were able to make it back to our official protest area and rejoin the rest of the group. There, we were on a barricade, and got into some heated discussions as the rest of the leftists passed.
I have some great video, but I am going to have to capture it, and then I will post some excerpts from it. I have watched parts of it are a little hair raising. Still, no one in our group was injured, and all of us from the Atlanta chapter (5 of us went up) were in good shape and spirits afterword.
I'll be back with more, probably this evening or early tomorrow. Right now, I am going to have to take a nap.
Special thanks to the wonderful men and women of the NYPD. They did a great job under difficult circumstances, and helped keep us safe. They did do the expedient thing in kicking PW out of the march, but I don't blame them for that. It was very scary. I talked to Rob, our Iraq vet and combat medic about what he thought about our infiltration. He told me he had never been more scared in his life.
And I was certainly scared. But I would (and will do) it again.
Freedom of speech is for everyone.