Demonstrations, teach-ins and rallies were organized throughout New York City last Wednesday as organizers and community members celebrated May Day, culminating in a spirited march from Union Square to City Hall Park.
At the front of the march were banners reading “Labor Rights, Immigrant Rights, Jobs for All” and “Equal Rights For All Workers / Stop The Raids and Deportations.” Although the focus of the day was primarily on labor and immigration rights, the causes represented throughout the city were as diverse as the forms they took. Speakers took the stage in Union Square to advocate for undocumented immigrants, queer and trans youth of color, Hurricane Sandy victims and the homeless. From the Transport Workers Union Young Workers to student activists at Free Cooper Union to the anticapitalist march through the East Village, the city was an interconnected network of actions for justice.
This year’s May Day festivities felt markedly different than last year’s, which benefited from a surge in energy, organizing and attention brought on by Occupy Wall Street. The occupation of Zuccotti Park and other encampments across the country forced causes like student debt, workers’ rights and income inequality into the public imagination, even if only briefly and even if such causes were then silenced by a coordinated police crackdown and media blackout. Although those advocating for justice are less visible now than they were last year, they are still there, just as they were before Occupy. On Wednesday, New York was a city where, if you looked close enough, you could notice those causes that are so often unnoticed and see those populations who are so often unseen.
(All photos by Craig O’Connor. Available here.)
Police officers wait in Bryant Park early Wednesday morning near a sidewalk message written for their benefit.
One march departs from Bryant Park, lead by several TWU Young Workers.
The TWU Young Workers pour out of the park and onto the midtown sidewalk.
Lady Liberty passes the New York Public Library.
Protesters enter the lobby of 100 Park Ave., where Wells Fargo is a major tenant.
Marchers approach Grand Central Station.
Protesters approach another building lobby but are stopped by the NYPD.
NYPD officers guard the doors as protesters gather outside.
A protester speaks with the police.
Shoe shiners and their customers, at the corner of 42nd & Fifth, look on at a passing march.
A protest marching band plays outside a building’s doors.
A seemingly unprompted arrest occurs on 14th Street near 1st Ave, during an anticapitalist march.
Police lead several more arrestees into custody during the anticapitalist march.
Police detain arrested protesters in the busy streets of the East Village.
At Union Square, hundreds gather in solidarity for worker and immigrant rights.
One man rests holding a simple May Day sign.
Indigenous dancers perform in the park.
A diverse and spirited crowd waits to depart Union Square for the day’s biggest march.
Anti-nuclear demonstrators join the worker solidarity crowd.