Day one of Occupy Austin has been orderly, enthusiastic, and free of any confrontations with police. An estimated 2000 people were massed in front of City Hall when I left the scene earlier this evening. It was a diverse gathering, ranging from young granola heads to gray-haired retirees, the unemployed, students, cowboys, members of the military and office-workers. The crowd was predominately white and anglo, but the number of Hispanic activists was encouraging. In Texas there can be no political uprising without the support of the Mexican-American community. Fortunately, Austin has one of the most vital, proud and potentially powerful Hispanic populations of any state in the Southwest and I think they’re going to become increasingly engaged in the OWS movement.
Overall, the atmosphere was festive, with pockets of people engaged in political discourse and speculation as to how long the occupation will last and in what form it will manifest.
It is against Austin city ordinances for the protesters to pitch tents or sleep overnight in the area around City Hall, so the occupation is quite limited in contrast to what has been taking place at Zuccotti Park in New York City. Many of the protesters say they may disregard the law and attempt to pitch tents or lay down bedding around City Hall. That would be the first test to see how much Austin authorities and the chief of police are willing to bend. So far the cops seem to be enjoying hanging out with the crowd and soaking in the sun. Hopefully they’ll continue to serve their roles as peace keepers.
I expect the crowds to grow over the weekend and I’ll be there to add my voice to the mix and film the action.
Here’s a short hi-def video I shot of today’s protest. The photos are by Mirgun Akyavas. Watch it full screen.
Posted by Marc Campbell |
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