As I said in an earlier post today, my wife and I delivered 80 bottles of Gatorade (OK, it was Infuse, from Aldi’s) and a few wet wipes containers to the Occupy Cleveland protesters. They were overjoyed and gave us quite the reception. When we insisted they were doing far more than we, they all said “Oh, no! Oh, no! We are all in this together.” They said people had been dropping off food and supplies on a regular basis.
When we were there, there were only a couple of dozen of them (though there were several hundred signs on the steps) so it was easy to talk to them. Most were 20-somethings but definitely not all. They were playing music and hackey-sack in front of Tower City, just across the street from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Two policemen sat on horseback. Protesters were petting the horses, who seemed to approve.
All of the protesters said the Cleveland Police had been great, and that they felt they were on their side. One young woman said she had held a sign up saying “We Are Fighting for Your Pensions” and a couple of the cops had come up to her and said, “We know.” We were only there for a couple of hours, but during that time several cars pulled up right behind a police car, parked in a No Parking zone behind it, and dropped off supplies. We must have been there for at least half an hour chatting with the protesters while the old Saturn flashed its hazard lights, and the police didn’t so much as give us a “move along.”
Music played by protesters blasted forth from amplifiers and speakers (no loudspeaker ban in Cleveland, thank you very much), and then one speaker came up and said, “Uh, we’re going to have a march at three o’clock. Uh, we’re not sure where yet, but we’ll tell you when we know. ”
Oh, and Green Cleveland, a sort of public-private hybrid promoting a “green city on a blue lake,” provided port-a-potties. The protesters said their biggest needs right now were blankets and maybe old couch cushions. We said we’d see what we could do.
Then we got hugs all round, and left to deal with domestic duties. All in all, I have to say the atmosphere for Occupy Cleveland was downright friendly and laid back. Those there today said they planned to stay 24-7 for at least a week, and would see where things stood then. OK, so it wasn’t as much as New York and DC and Philly, but it’s a start.