Friday, October 07, 2011

Occupy Houston yesterday

Wore my black suit, my white shirt, and picked out a tie that I would be most likely not to be upset about if it got ruined -- you know, mud or blood or something -- and jumped the train downtown early yesterday morning to join the march by 8:30 a.m.

I counted about 200 people at the assembly area, walked over to say hello to Richard Shaw of the AFL-CIO, and gave a lengthy interview to a reporter who furiously took notes (no camera). She asked me my age, where I was from, what I did for a living, my tax bracket, my annual income ... and whether that was a Hermes tie I was wearing. I said, "I don't think so," and turned it over to look at the label. Neiman Marcus. *heavy sigh*

The march began at nine and we stopped just a few blocks away in front of the Chase tower, chanted "They got bailed out, we got sold out" and some other things while people in the building came out and took pictures of us. There were about 50 yards of empty plaza between us, with a handful of HPD spaced appropriately between. A good video of that scene from FOX 26:

On to City Hall and the reflecting pool grounds in front, where we scaled the steps and got a little louder at the front door before moving back to the top-step staging area. I estimated the crowd at around 500 by now; several people spoke and more announcements about the continuing occupation were made. Around 10:30 a single conservative disruptor with a sign that said "Blame Yourselves!" waded in to the assembly, was surrounded quickly by maybe six HPD officers, escorted several feet back and  maintained his self-appointed police security while a handful of people exchanged vocal pleasantries with him. I left the protest at 11 a.m. with a gritty slime around my neck that was assembling itself to trickle down my back. By the time I made it to the Main Street light rail station in front of the Foley's/Macy's and boarded the southbound, I was whipped. Sore feet, sore back, sweated all the way through the collar to the afore-mentioned neckwear.

I was interviewed by ABC-13, FOX 26, some radio station whose call letters I didn't catch, and the reporter mentioned previously (must have been the suit). But I don't appear to have survived any video edits Pardon me. FOX 26 did give me some airtime here (about 1:05 in). I am however also seen but not heard in this one, giving my radio interview starting about the :50 mark.

As previously linked, the Houston FOX affiliate's reporting was thorough and fair and balanced. Really. No, really; they did a good job. More local coverage:

Chron: Protesters target bank, City Hall as Occupation spreads to Houston. With short video and 14 photos. I'm in #9 (number 9, number 9 ... that's odd. Must be the Herman Cain Effect, who was also in town to pimp his book and bad-mouth the protestors' First Amendment exercise. Speaking of exercise, Herm ...) Update: They have added some photos to the slideshow; I'm now #13 of 18.

KTRK: Occupy Wall Street spin-offs come to Texas, including Houston. Houston's ABC affiliate had the best coverage by far. Excellent video report, tying in with the beatdowns in New York. Two more raw videos, one long from the overhead chopper, one short on the ground. 79 photos.

Houston Community Newspapers: OccupyHouston puts ‘civility’ in civil unrest at downtown protest. Nice touch pointing out the kindler, gentler part. The pre-march announcement from the legal team -- about 6-10 green-hatted volunteers -- coached the crowd, emphasizing the "non-violent, non-disruptive" nature of the protest. Since the organizers didn't have a permit, we would repeat instructions to 'stay out of the street and cross in the crosswalk' at the ten or so intersections we navigated between Market Square Park and City Hall. I did this myself, making sure to stand close to the horse-mounted HPD officer so he could hear me as I cautioned the marchers. More than once, a horse stretched his muzzle over to me and sniffed my arm or nibbled at my shirt.

News 2 Houston: Houstonians Protest Big Business. The NBC affiliate locally provides a weak headline, a dry account, and an antiseptic (3b and 4a) video.

If you see any more reports, video, or audio, please add them in the comments.

Update: More from Neil.

1 comment:

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