I just got back from the most amazing critical mass ride ever! There were upwards of 300 of us filling the New York streets. We started at Union Square, then rode south on Broadway, took Canal St. over to the West Side highway and converged upon Pier 40 on the Hudson River. From there we waited until everyone was in a big group, then rode up the West Side Highway for 20 blocks or so closing every lane, then cut into the side streets. From there we went north on 8th Ave up to Columbus Circle. We closed down 1/4 mile stretches of the road including all side streets at a time to let our huge mass ride north. We rode around Columbus circle a few times closing it (we filled the whole thing), then went down towards Times Square. We pulled into Times Square making as much noise as possible (as is normally the case with Critical Mass), and the throngs of pedestrians all went nuts. We again proceeded to close every side street so that we could ride through as one big mass without having to worry about things as trivial as red lights, and then went over to Lexington Ave, went down and took the Lex. tunnel to Grand Central Station. We circled Grand Central, then went into the village where we proceeded to make as much noise as possible as we rode through. We eventually stopped at a park on Avenue A and all decided that it was time to call it a night. We started biking at around 7pm, and went straight through until 10:30 pm.
The cops lately have been making it very clear that they do not like things such as people assembling (it's not like it's protected by the first amendment or anything ::rollseyes:. At last month's Critical Mass, they arrested a number of people on bull**** charges, and it got alot of negative media coverage. This time, they decided to show their force. About two dozen of them showed up at Union Square. They locked the entrances and tried to intimidate us. Luckily, we had alot of media there this time because of last month's fiasco. The cops initially arrested one person for "disorderly conduct" (ie, sitting on the sidewalk with a mohawk), and it was at this point that I witnessed something that I have never seen before and will probably never see again. We all surrounded the cops and started chanting the first amendment. That isn't really that significant, but is standard practice. What was unique about this demonstration is that after a few minutes, the cops did not call for backup or start cracking skulls. Instead, they let the kid go.
They tried to follow us, but the group started out so fragmented that we lost our 'escort' pretty quickly. For some reason, only one cop tried to stop us after we left Pier 40. We were riding up 8th Ave. when a cop turns on his lights and comes up behind us. Eventually he gets into the middle of us and we weren't stopping. We just kept on riding and making an ungodly amount of noise. Around 35th St., he pulled off, and we didn't have another cop bother us throughout the entire night of traffic congestion and noise.
It was the single most exhilarating experience that I have ever had during a demonstration. I am going to have many very fond memories of this night. I doubt that I'll ever see a sight more beautiful or empowering than turning around near the front right as we were leaving Times Square and seeing this huge mass of bikes just filling the road. It was beautiful, it was fun, and I hope that in the future I will be able to go to another Critical Mass as good as this one was.
hey man welcome back. pardon my ignorace but were you fighting coal like usual or was it outher stuff? did you have posters or anything to let pople know what was going on. im just tring to picture what it looked like and what it represented
This is Critical Mass. It's an anarchistic bicycle awareness event that we do every so often (in different cities it's at different times). In NYC, it's the last Friday of every month. Basically, we take out bikes out, and reclaim the streets. We ride around and make alot of noise to let drivers know that we have the right of way too on the roads. In larger Critical Mass rides (like the one I was in tonight), we will literally reclaim the streets. We took wherever we were riding away from the cars as a statement. They were our streets. The cops couldn't stop us, and we turned major roads into our roads keeping these gas sucking machine drivers stuck and aggravated.
Earlier today I went to an anti coal "demonstration" but was utterly appalled by the state of New York's activism scene. The "demonstration" that I thought was going to be an office takeover because of the way the pamphlet was worded ended up being a few people handing out info sheets. I was ashamed to be anywhere near it. Luckily, Critical Mass was there to rejuvenate my faith in the NYC activist scene.
not to sound mean or anyhting do what you want but if its your job to preotect the city and general public, wouldnt you get a bit anxious/nervous when a bunch of bycycalist clog the streets chanting extremely loud as you say? especially when your not sure if one or a small group is goign to do somehting dangerous you personally might know that its a peaceful stating a point type of thign but the cops dont know that and thier gonna be on high alert....or when a mob surrounds them? just the other side of the view... you made it sound like cops are our enemys that thier some kind of super human race...its cool that you stand up for what you belive in dont get me wrong (i would but i just dont feel too strongly about much of anything, well besids bush being a &^%*^% dumb "donkey")so dont take this as me tryign to make you look bad i guess you could say. i was just throwing the cops point of view out there...
I don't think that it's the pig's place to assume that a peaceful crowd of bicyclists are out to start trashing things. The one time we are safe on the road is when we are doing Critical Mass because most drivers try to run us off the road but can't when there are 300 of us. The cops have been arresting people at Critical Mass in New York recently for things like "disorderly conduct" which is a charge so vague that it means whatever the cop doesn't feel like approving of. The cops are supposed to be civil servants upholding the laws of the people, not controlling the people. They should not have a say or get a point of view. Instead, they are running the country through force and use of fear. There are so many laws that are designed specifically to promote fear of the pigs. Disrespecting an officer, assaulting an officer, and so many other cop-only charges are just ridiculous and designed so that they are classified by the law as these elite people who deserve much more than the people they are supposed to respect and protect. The pigs now refer to citizens as 'civilians.' They are trying to put themselves into another class above us and that should never be tolerated. Basically, in the eyes of the 'law,' it's illegal to defend yourself when being wrongly attacked by the pigs. A great example is that elderly man who was attacked by a number of cops in New Orleans for stopping to ask them a simple question. The cops got off because the man was struggling. This is a man who was just going to the store to buy cigarettes, was assaulted, and was struggling to get free. I'm sorry, but this blind devotion to whatever a cop says is completely wrong. These dickfaces have pretty much unlimited power, and no judge is willing to drop the hammer on one.
When I am in a crowd demonstrating, and the cops start attacking us even though we are peaceful, I don't consider it patriotic or right to listen to them. When the cops start launching teargas into the crowd, I consider it the right thing to put on a black mask, throw it back and start throwing anything else solid back at them.
To protect them from people like me? They have a gun, I don't. Is my belief in freedom that dangerous to their power? A cop should never be able to arrest someone for questioning their constitutional authority. I have never attacked a cop. I have been attacked for holding signed at demonstrations. I have been threatened with arrest for going to demonstrations. I have had rubber bullets and teargas shot at me simply for voicing my opinion. I'm sorry, but throwing the teargas back at them is the right thing to do when being faced with repression.
ok you and everyone else might have known it was a peaceful gathering, cops cant read your mind or anyone elses. a peaceful thing can turn into an ugly mob in seconds. all it takes is a few bad eggs. its not liek only a certian few can become a police officer. anyone can.
yes they have guns, they have them to protect people liek you and me without guns. lets say some wacko would be in the middle of one of your demonstrations and started shooting an uzi or tec9 off. i bet you would want cops to have guns then! or would you want them to have somehting totally useless and then there would be lots of innocent people dead because noone was there to kill the wacko.
and you say youve never attacked a cop yet you said twice now that you would or have thrown teargas and anythign soild back at the cops. whats that really gonna do? all thier thinking is well thier throwing stuff at us so were going to use more force. its liek throwing a rock at a bees nest...