Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Orlando

Today I visited the Occupy rally in Orlando Florida.

They had peppered the neighborhood with flyers:

A flyer promoting Occupy Orlando

A flyer from Occupy Orlando

Even plastering them on ATMs:

Occupy Orlando flyers at an ATM.

They ended up with 300 people (my estimate). 300 people sounds like a lot, but not when you consider that Orlando has over two million residents. The occupiers sounded frustrated at times that they were getting so little support. It wasn't just with signs like these:

"Even if you disagree with us, we are fighting for your rights too!"

They were actively talking about it.

The Occupy Tampa rally had several features I had not seen at other rallies. One thing which stood out were the signs.

"Do you has what it takes to join the homestarmy? #occupystrongbadia":

"Do you has what it takes to join the homestarmy? #occupystrongbadia"

"We are confident that we are emissaries of light, and in knowing this, we ask guidance from the creative forces that we will be aided in uncovering our truest potential through inspiration using the intelligent healing power of love to heal ourselves as well as others":

A sign from the Occupy Orlando rally.


I heart frogs

These signs have obviously not been edited. And if you think I'm picking out the crazy ones, these are the ones I think are crazy:

An anti-vaccine sign:

An anti-vaccine sign at the Occupy Orlando rally

"9-11 was an inside job":

"9-11 was an inside job"

And some ones about TSA scanners:

"Don't use ionizing body scanners X-rays"

"Opting out of naked body scanners X-rays"

Another difference that stood out was the selling of memorabilia to raise money. Such as pins:

Guy selling occupy pins at the Occupy Orlando rally

And shirts:

Man selling Occupy shirts

Another novelty was a speaker system and stage which people took turns using (this is how I know what they were thinking).

It was pretty normal left-wing talk, but there were some ironic juxtapositions, as when this woman, wearing a mask which represents the violent overthrow of the government, quoted Gandhi:

Woman dressed as terrorist quoting Gandhi

And don't tell me some people there didn't want to violently overthrow the government. There was a reason many of them wore masks. One guy was literally holding a sign that said nothing other than "Revolt!":


They also had a Tea Party troll:

Tea Party troll

Everyone wanted to talk to him.

[UPDATE: that guy was definitively not with the Tea Party. He's been seen with signs reading: "Thanks Tea Party Republicans for Screwing everyone except the Richest 1%". Which means they had a fake Tea Party troll! I felt better about them seeing how cordial they were with him, now I feel the exact opposite. They're lying to people, on purpose. (Hat tip to @ToadonaWire)]

They set up a library:

The free library

Feel free to peruse their reading material:

Books in the Occupy Orlando Library.

Books in the Occupy Orlando Free Library

There was also a first-aid station and media center, which is all pretty standard at these events.

They scheduled a march for 11:30 AM, and I was early so I went to check out the neighborhood.

It's pretty much all giant banks and businesses that serve bank workers. One especially notable institution was the Wall Street Plaza and Wall Street Cantina:

Wall St Plaza

Wall Street Cantina

Eventually the occupiers start their march:

It is an impressive spectacle. A few hundred people can take up a lot of space when you make them walk over a narrow sidewalk. For the most part nobody witnessed this. It was a Saturday and most of the big office towers were empty. Even traffic was light. Police on bicycles and a few in squad cars made sure no one got hurt.

Cow man marches through Orlando

Drummer boy

Covered faces

"We care about you"

"Take America Back"

An 8 year old.

Bandanna, tie, and weird boots

I think that a large contingent of the marchers were professional protesters. They were getting paid to be there. Here's a group of hotel workers shouting "No contract, no peace!":

"We need a living wage"

Bull horn at Occupy Orlando

Poop or urine reference


Occupy Orlando marches.

Bend over No More Fight Back

One thing you don't see in this mishmash of left-wing groups is a gay organization. And that makes sense, because banks, especially big banks, tend to be very inclusive of gays and lesbians. Big banks even march in OUR parades. It's no wonder we don't march against them, just like it's no wonder the people of Orlando don't march against their employers.


  1. Well that settles it. I'm joining them. Everything makes sense now!

    Great photos, Jason. Thanks for posting them.

    (M&I Bank is headquartered in Milwaukee, and was recently acquired by Bank of Montreal.)