A group of protesters that has taken to the sidewalk on Wall Street has steadily grown over the past few nights, as more sleeping bag-clad activists join in on catching some Z's for the cause.
Sleeping as a form of protest is protected by law under the first amendment, as long as half the sidewalk is still accessible for pedestrians. Protesters have now begun occupying the sidewalk on Wall Street overnight, beginning on Monday evening when a small group of them showed up with a poster-sized sign of the law allowing them to use sleep as a form of political expression. More than 80 protesters joined last night's sleepover near the New York Stock Exchange, according to SleepOWS.
"We are sleeping across from the NYSE to symbolize the loss of homes in the foreclosure crisis brought on by Wall Street practices," said protester Martin Bisi. "We represent these homeless."
While the sidewalk "camp" lacks the tents and tarps that once covered the ground in Zuccotti Park, more protesters are joining the group each night, armed with nothing but warm clothes and sleeping bags. So far, there has yet to be a clash between the slumbering protesters and NYPD officers who stand ground near them nightly. No arrests have been made. In fact, protesters note, there seems to be a renewed, more cordial, relationship between them.
"They seem to like this action. They were almost jovial last night," Bisi said of officers. "Seems like if there's a professionality and gravitas to the action, there are some NYPD who almost seem to enjoy it."
Police asked protesters to leave at 6 a.m Tuesday morning after their first Wall Street sleepover. However, they could still be seen in their sleeping bags on the sidewalk this morning after 8 a.m.