Today, and for the first time since New York police evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on November 15, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street Screenprinters returned to Zuccotti, also known as Liberty Park, to print designs and show solidarity with the protesters of #OccupyGeziNYC.
Julie Goldsmith and David Yap, both of OWS Screenprinters, were in the park printing t-shirts or anything people requested to be screenprinted with their two designs, one which featured a riff on Milton Glaser’s I ♥ NY logo and the other of the now infamous photograph by Reuters photographer Osman Orsal that shows a Turkish police officer dosing a woman in a red dress with tear gas.
“During the winter we couldn’t print outdoors but we’ve been at other events, like Occupy Times Square,” Goldsmith told Hyperallergic. “But since we’re all back at Zuccotti it makes sense to be here with our comrades.”
The OWS group will also be at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) every Friday as part of the Exchange Cafe that began on May 24 and continues until June 30 at the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education Building.
Screenprinters have been a part of the Occupy movement since its inception in September 2011. Since those early days they have been a driving force in the visual culture of a movement that has since morphed into a decentralized and unaffiliated global activist network that includes #OccupyGezi in Turkey.
This afternoon’s #OccupyGeziNYC event was more inclusive and festive than last week’s protest in the park, and it featured a solidarity action with AKNY-Greek Solidarity Movement, a leftist Greek democratic group, which was greeted with cheers from protesters.
“The people of Greece and Turkey share all the squares around the world,” the AKNY spokesperson said during her short speech at the gathering.
A protest organizer, who addressed the crowd in typical Occupy mic check style, announced a number of points that came across as objectives of the protest, including a halt to the demolition of Gezi Park, a halt to the use of tear and other gases in Turkey and around the world, the release of political prisoners, and a guarantee of the right to protest in all squares and public spaces.
There were signs that protest organizers were able to attract a broader swathe of support this week than last, which was demonstrated by the large array of Occupy signs and supporters, a sign of support from an Iranian protester, and a sign in Armenian, held by a non-Armenian man, professing a global battle for human rights around the world. Estimates for the number of protesters at the Saturday event range from 700, a Hyperallergic estimate, to 2,000.
The protest continued from Zuccotti to Union Square, where protesters gathered to continue their chants of support for #OccupyGezi.