By: Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte
On Oct. 7, scores of demonstrators, both Haitians and their international allies, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to show support for the movement called Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Chanting “Get Out of Haiti! Occupy Wall Street!”, the demonstrators left Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn around 5:30 p.m. and marched onto the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, where hundreds of commuters and tourists showed their solidarity with raised fists and thumbs-up.
When the demonstrators reached the Manhattan side of the bridge, their ranks had swelled to a few hundred. They were met by another march of several hundred OWS demonstrators heading north on Broadway. The two groups of marchers hailed each other and then merged behind the Haitians’ banner for a lap around City Hall park before marching together down to Zuccotti Park.
Once in Zuccotti Park, Ray Laforest of the International Support Haiti Network (ISHN) – one of the march sponsors – spoke to the OWS protestors using the “human megaphone,” where a speaker’s words are amplified when repeated in unison by scores of voices.
“The military occupations we see in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same as that in Haiti,” Laforest said. “We call for an end to the United Nation’s military occupation of Haiti, which is only there to enforce the dictates of Washington and Wall Street. Instead, let us, the peoples of the world united, occupy Wall Street!”
On several occasions over the past two decades, Haitians have staged symbolic marches, sometimes in the thousands, across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest racist federal policies, coups d’etat in Haiti, or police brutality in New York City.
The Oct. 7 march was called by a coalition of Haitian community groups including ISHN, the Fanmi Lavalas’ New York chapter, and the Konbit Ayisyen pou Kore Lakay (KAKOLA), among others.