I’m just back from OccupyNH’s kick off yesterday. It started in Veteran’s Park in Manchester then moved to Victory Park, two blocks away, where we set up our tents. About 15 tents set up last night. Most tents had more than one person so I’d guess the head count was around 30 if not more.
The weather was great. It wasn’t too hot nor was it too cold. There was a brief shower which lasted about 20 minutes but otherwise there were no weather issues. It was the quintessential New England autumn day.
The cops drove past about 5 times from 11:30 to 12:30 (the rally started at noon but many showed up in the 11 o’clock hour) but otherwise left us alone. As I understand it, the City of Manchester and organizers for OccupyNH came to an agreement about the rally, march, and sleeping. It’s my understanding the Mayor of Manchester, Ted Gatsas, is very supportive of the goals of the Occupy Movement. If this information is wrong please politely correct me in the comments.
About 300 people were there at the peak.
After we marched down Elm Street twice, we made camp at Victory Park. We welcomed everyone who came in including many of Manchester’s homeless. Most were polite, accepting and supportive of our reasons for the occupation, and willing to help with clean up.
Money was gathered to procure food. Two gentlemen, Chris and Joe, brought in a mobile home and cooked up burgers, dogs, and veggie burgers for everyone, including the homeless.
The nightly GA which brought some tension. A small minority felt ignoring the mandate of the movement, the ONLY mandate, of remaining nonviolent somehow includes carrying firearms either concealed or unconcealed. If this resolution gets passed I will not be a member of OccupyNH any longer and will throw my support to Boston instead. Regardless of what the Constitution says, and regardless of New Hampshire’s way, way to loose state laws on firearms, guns are not acceptable at a nonviolent movement. The motion was tabled to be brought up at today’s GA at noon. I will not be there as I am already home but I have made my voice heard. Guns serve no useful purpose. They are designed to threaten, intimidate, and induce fear. Threats, intimidation, and fear are not ways to solve problems. Anyone who carries a gun, open carry or concealed, lacks any self confidence and respect for others. If you need a gun to feel safe, regardless of whether it’s your right to carry, then you frighten me and I don’t want you anywhere around me. I have no idea what will trigger you into pulling your gun on me or someone else. I do not trust people with guns. The old adage is right: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And I don’t want ANYONE with a gun, cops included, near me. The threat of that weapon, and the fact that I don’t know you, makes me very distrustful and quite frightened. Also, to bring weapons to a nonviolent movement destroys any credibility the movement has gained. It will make the cops twitchy and the general public afraid of the movement. We want to include people not exclude them. We want families and guns have no place in a family atmosphere.
After the GA some of us attended Arnie Alpert’s Peacekeeper training. This included how to diffuse situations in a nonviolent peaceful way.
Overall the day went off without a hitch (besides the guns). I live tweeted it pretty much all day so you can go through my twitter feed to see how the day progressed. Matt Murry of New Hampshire Labor News wrote a nice piece with me heavily quoted.