In Washington and on cable news, Tuesday is the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. But elsewhere around the country, protests are raging over issues closer to home.
International Workers Day or May Day generally draws protests from workers rights activists, immigration reform activists and other progressive groups. This year, the Occupy movement has also joined the fray, calling for a “general strike,” which a Facebook page describes as “NO WORK - NO SCHOOL - NO SHOPPING - NO BANKING - NO TRADING.” Across the country, cities have braced for disruptions as labor, immigration and Occupy activists stage protests in major cities.
In New York, the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street, protests are planned throughout the city. There are calls to abandon work and head for the streets, including occupying Union Square and a march through Manhattan. In Washington, D.C. protestors have organized a march to the White House.
West Coast cities, which have been the scene of massive May Day protests in years past, are bracing for large demonstrations.
Occupy organizers in Los Angeles, where immigration-focused May Day rallies in past years have drawn tens of thousands, have promised to shut down the city. Occupy is planning bike caravans that will begin from four corners of the city and will converge on downtown Los Angeles around 4 p.m. PT. According to the city blog LAist, organizers describe the caravan as a “slow, city-paralyzing, carnival-esque descent into the center of the city.” There is also an immigration march and various other labor protests throughout the city.
The Los Angeles Police Department declined to give deployment numbers when asked by TPM, but a spokesman for the department said the force is on “maximum deployment” for the day, meaning “pretty much anyone who can be is on duty today.”
Seattle is prepping for traffic disruptions and officials are concerned about protests dissolving into violence. Law enforcement is taking extra precautions and Occupy Seattle will put “peacekeepers” in the crowds to work with police and try to stop any outbreaks that may occur, according to King 5.
In San Francisco, ferry workers have pledged to strike, which will prevent commuters from Marin County from entering the city for work. Occupy protesters intend to join the strikers, who have been working without a contract for almost a year over a health care coverage dispute.
In Cleveland, five alleged anarchists were arrested for allegedly plotting to blow up a bridge to commemorate the Occupy May Day protests. They were arrested Monday night after being identified by the FBI.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.