Occupy Wall St. Protests: Live Blog

At least 15 major labor unions were taking part in today's protest.

October 5, 2011, 3:44 PM

Oct. 5, 2011 -- For latest, follow Gregory Krieg - @gregk_abc

11:59 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : The guys in white, however, were obviously, visibly "up for it." Ugly strategy from the NYPD, whatever their goal. #occupywallst

11:59 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : If there's a problem with the NYPD as goes #OccupyWallSt, it's the White Shirts ("supervisors")... rank and file were calm, respectful.

8:07 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Now we're sitting. Well, I'm standing. Amazed at how orderly the protesters are in choosing next move. Lotsa smiles. http://yfrog.com/hwn71mnj

8:01 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Handful of cops and protesters work together to help out a claustrophobic young man. "Mic check! Everyone relax! You are safe!"

8:00 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Corner of Wall and Broadway now on edge of chaos http://yfrog.com/nuvovwj

7:58 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Girls behind me "just want to get into Victoria's Secret." Sans-culottes, indeed! #OccupyWallStreet

7:57 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc :The White Shirt NYPD now red-faced and out in force. The chant: "Police, join us! They want your pensions, too!" #OccupyWallStreet

7:49 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Not just the protesters taking snaps. NYPD gent taping the crowd. Deliberate. Not missing a face. http://yfrog.com/j2tdaahj

7:48 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports via twitter: @gregk_abc : Now it could get a bit salty. Smaller group now headed to Wall Street proper. Cops shuffling to man the fortress. #OccupyWallStreet

6:38 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: The march has passed through a narrow corridor along Park Row and back south down Broadway from Foley Square, returning to Zuccotti Park. We've heard reports on crowd size ranging from 2,000 (an officer guessed) and 15,000 (organizers guessed). I'd say it's much closer to the latter. And for every protester, there must be two metal barriers. This is a very tightly-held rage.

A community affairs officer who has been minding the north side of the park since Sept. 17 said his orders have not changed at any point during the "occupation." Keeping people out of car and pedestrian traffic is his only charge, he said.

Asking to remain anonymous, he also spoke about divisions in his own ranks. He likes grassroots radio and WLIB, while some of his colleagues are "more right-wing -- just like any other workplace."

Would he be out with the protesters if he wasn't on duty?

"Yeah, I would, but I'm at work."

And if he was ordered to clear the park?

"I wouldn't whack anyone, and no one's ever asked me to do that. That's not how it is. People think that about anyone in a uniform. Just like they think black guys are drug dealers. But yes, I would do what my captain asked."

What about the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge?

"They were blocking traffic. Simple."

A man in a teamsters shirt walked by, saying: "Y'all are with us in spirit, right?"

The cop smiled.

The sun is setting now and you can see all the thousands of cameras flashing. Occupy Wall Street reached that point today where it has now looks in on itself. The protesters, at last given the media coverage they so desired, are now taking their own portraits.

Will they be satisfied with what they see? That chapter, it seems, will be theirs to write.

5:47 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: Foley Square is a quiet riot. There is not a foot to spare, as it looks like organizers got their dream turnout. The police, too, must be quite pleased. We haven't seen anything like the scenes near Union Square (kettling and mace) or on the Brooklyn Bridge (700 arrested). The one rule: Stay out of the street. For now, everyone seems comfortable on their turf.

There's been a lot of talk about Occupy Wall Street's "demands," or rather the absence of such. And it's true, there is no singular, pithy appeal. But the larger message is quite clear. Nearly everyone I've spoken with agrees that banks and financial institutions need to be taxed more and regulated more thoroughly, and that the money should go toward education (teachers and students facing loan debt), health insurance, homeowners facing foreclosure.

What I've not heard is anything partisan. At all. That's in part by design - organizers have been particular about not alienating potential supporters - but it doesn't seem like anyone needs convincing. They protesters are, seemingly to a man, put off by the Democrats and Republicans in equal measure.

5:29 p.m. ET: ABC News' Aaron Katersky reports: Officially, NYPD doesn't do crowd estimates. But unofficially: 3,000 in Foley Square.

4:52 p.m. ET: Tweet from @OccupyWallStNYC: Foley Square has reached max capacity!!! At least 15k proud ralliers soon returning to #libertysquare #takewallstreet

4:44 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: "You can always juke the numbers! That's in the fourth season of 'The Wire,'" said Henry Funes, a New York City public school teacher for 24 years, who is a big fan of ["The Wire" creator] David Simon. "He had it right, man. The mayor, Bloomberg, and Joe Klein when he was here? They outsourced everything. We have the money but they're telling us we need to take more cuts."

Funes said that privitization, or the "outsourcing" of work once done by teachers, to private companies, is draining already tenuous school budgets.

"They don't even know these kids," he said of the people who come in to train him. "How are they telling me how to do my work?"

Click Here for Photos from the Protest

4:25 p.m. ET: ABC News' Aaron Katersky reports: Here in Foley Square, the demonstrators are streaming in via Broadway. Loudspeakers are up in the middle of the square across from the "Law and Order" courthouse. There's no official count, but the union and activist support has clearly drawn numbers ... Several thousand eyeballing it? All peaceful so far. A lot of signs calling for a tax on Wall Street and expressing feelings of unfairness and economic injustice. "Wall St, can't you see, we want a fair economy" goes one refrain. Heavy police, but so far so good.

4:20 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: It's early, but the police seem to have the march under their thumb as it snakes north up Broadway toward Foley Square. The west sidewalk is our pathway and it's guarded on the street side by cops and hundreds of metal barriers. Car traffic is passing by without bother. Tame for now. We'll see what happens when we rendezvous with the unions in a bit. People are excited and saying that the Teamsters have "signed on," but no one seems sure what that would mean, if anything, for today's rally.

3:54 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: Nick Long might be the most popular guy in Zuccotti Park. He's the man with the tobacco. It's free cigarettes - some hand rolled, more from a dwindling carton of Marlboro Reds - for anyone who comes to his well-stocked "Nick @ Nite" booth. Long estimates that he's given out 15,000 in the past nine days. After the Saturday protest on the Brooklyn Bridge, he said, "Everyone came right here. They needed a smoke after that!"

3:37 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: In his khakis, brown shoes, and windbreaker, Carl Schuring came down here for a look on his lunch break. He's a Ron Paul supporter and considers himself more of a Tea Party guy.

"But a lot of the things they say here: about the bailouts and the 99 percent? That's what we were saying during the early [Tea Party] meet-up groups."

He scanned the crowd again.

"I don't think we'd have too many of the same answers to this stuff, but I'm glad they're out here, even if nothing happens."

3:21 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: Zuccotti Park is now filled to the brim. Not quite confusion, but most people are either feverishly rushing around or waiting. There's a drum beat coming from the east side of the park. Every time it picks up, the protesters start chattering. It's like we're waiting for the band to come on.

Now instructions are being announced about the march (about to begin) and what to do if you're arrested (there's a phone number). The directions are being given by one person, who speaks in short bursts. The words are then repeated down the line, like a game of telephone.

2:54 p.m. ET: ABC News' Aaron Katersky reports: A couple hundred students walked out of class at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York to join the Occupy Wall Street protests against corporate greed and fiscal inequality. A few carried signs but most were content to shout their opposition to tuition hikes, cuts in financial aid and what they say are attempts to privatize their school which is part of the City University of New York.

"A lot of students are really fired up now," said Sally Abdulgafar, one of the student organizers. "We're revolting like the Arab Spring."

Kenny Cruz, another of the student organizers, said, "Here, in the midst of a crisis billions of our tax dollars have gone to war, gone to bailouts for corporations. What has education seen? Cuts. This isn't OK."

2:40 p.m. ET: ABC News' Gregory J. Krieg reports: If the weather is any indication, and it usually is with these things, organizers should get the big crowd they wanted ... and then some. It's hot out here. The first rally, at Zuccotti Park, is scheduled for 3 p.m. We ran into a group of about 30 CUNY students chanting (and headed downtown) outside the 59th St Columbus Circle subway stop. Their signs read, "We are the 99 percent."

1:20 p.m. ET: The protest today in lower Manhattan is expected to be Occupy Wall Street's largest demonstration yet. Organizers are planning for at least 2,000 people to participate and the movement is getting a significant boost from at least 15 major labor unions that are joining today's rally and march.

The AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, and Transit Workers' Union are a few of the groups planning to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of primarily young adults who have spent the better part of three weeks organizing from Zuccotti Square.

Today's action is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, when the protesters in Zuccotti Square march approximately one mile north to Foley Square, where they will be met by community and labor leaders. Then, at 4:30 p.m., they plan to match together back down toward Wall Street. They do not yet have a city-issued permit for the gathering, but are now pursuing one.

Organizers are also calling on college students around the country to protest by walking out of class at 2 p.m.