On my way to this protest, I expected maybe a couple or a few hundred people at most, as the biggest Las Vegas protest I’d been to before had a couple hundred people. And that was in the middle of the Bush presidency when people were super polarized, and protests spread across the country. The last few years I’ve hardly seen much activist action in the U.S., all the big actions seeming to be in Europe and the Middle East.
But as I got there and the march started, I saw there were at *least* several hundred, and as the day wore on and intensity intensified, I craned my neck and stepped as far away from the crowd as I could, and I couldn’t see the entire crowd, but I knew there had to be well over a thousand. And estimates by the police and LVRJ place it at well above a thousand. So, I’d say this protest was a major success. Major news coverage, great cooperation with and by the police, and after our first strip lap I was surprised to find they were letting us onto one-two lanes of one of the busiest (and most famous) street segments in the world. Tourists from all over the world were witnessing this, a truly passionate movement in a usually seemingly apathetic and meaningless party-saturated city. I was even more surprised when the police decided to block off the most busy intersections in the city, Flamingo & the Strip and Tropicana & the Strip, for about 15 minutes at a time, from *all* oncoming traffic, after originally having us (and usually all pedestrian traffic) use the overhead walkways. Marching with signs and chanting along with the massive seemingly neverending crowd in front of all those blocked (and maybe really annoyed, as traffic was surely realllly backed up for quite a while after) cars was a truly amazing feeling. I literally had chills (a minute before I got chills from actual cold).
Afterward, I went to Koval and Trop to join the general assembly (after I took a detour to get a bite/drink), and found about 7 others on a corner holding signs, not sure where it had met, because an exact location had not been locked down and they had also not gone with the main group. I found out via help of someone on the phone where the address should be, and I led the group of seven down the street in that direction, hoping that would be the right place. About halfway down the block we saw the main group emerging from a dark lot across the street, relocating to behind a pub, so we went there. Soon we had to leave the pub and congregated outside the UNLV Student Union for the general assembly. This was my first “direct democracy” meeting ever, and I learned quite a bit. We discussed and voted on proposals for where we will occupy once the “official” occupation starts on the 15th, how we will go about it, legal issues, etc. It was a long process, and freezing, but a great and productive/progressive feeling actually taking part (though I didn’t actually give any input, I was just getting adjusted and observing how it works- very much want to get more involved from here on out) and seeing decisions being made. Political change (and paradigm shifts) are obviously a long process, but I definitely see this going in the right direction, and so far, I feel this may be the change we have been looking for. And of course, we are the change we have been waiting for.
*Fun note- I totally expected it to be a rainy dreary cold day, as did many others (and the news practically promised lots of rain), but the rain stopped not long before the march started, and it got quite comfortable (without the sweater I brought), and the first sprinkle I felt was literally within a few seconds of the march being declared as over. Thanks weather for blessing us with such a great day for the protest! And funny that the dark clouds in the poster made about a week before the march looked just like the ones that day- as seen prevalent in a few pictures below.
Fox 5: Occupy Las Vegas group protests on Strip (with video)
LV CityLife: Rebellion for the Masses (GREAT article- and turns out I sat by the Anonymous hacking girl at the assembly!)
Hundreds march on Strip to protest corporate greed (incl. KSNV Ch. 3 video)
KTNV 13: Protesters march the Strip for Occupy Las Vegas (with video)
*they say “dozens and dozens”… what?!? They mean hundreds and hundreds and hundreds… well over a thousand according to the police & the LVRJ