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The Morning After: Zuccotti Park Protestors Undaunted

Posted: 11/16/11 01:08 PM ET

I arrived at Foley Square at 6:30 a.m., expecting chaos. Surprisingly, the mood was calm. Some tired and hungry former Zuccotti occupiers were sleeping on the floor of the square as the sun rose. Cops were standing along the park as if they were merely bystanders.

Others recalled the event last night - running away from the police as they try to avoid getting arrested. Some of them spoke in angry tones while other promised that their eviction would be only temporary. At the center of the square, a young man wearing black jeans and a brown jacket was waving the American flag.

Around 7 a.m., I saw a young girl waking up. She was sleeping on the bare ground using a bag of her clothing as a pillow. I heard her conversation in fragments. She started to speak to the person next to her and I heard the word: revolution. I moved closer to her. She was asking in a concerned voice if her friend had been arrested.

Suddenly the protesters in the park turned their heads responding to a "mic check." Someone yelled "two minutes to GA." Roughly 150 protesters quickly gathered for the General Assembly.

One of the speakers announced that bagels, bananas, coffee and juice were available for protesters. Shortly after, the speaker declared a plan of action: take back Zuccotti Park. And the crowd started to move.

As the protesters walked south toward City Hall, a man in his early 30s behind me shouted "Shame on Bloomberg!" Then the crowd behind me started to chant "We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!"

Roughly 50 cops stood on the road, making sure that no one left the sidewalk. As I reached Canal Street, I saw three helicopters hovering over. A man started to scream at the police. He was angry because one of the officers had apparently touched him.

When we reached Grand Street and Sixth Avenue, the pace of the march slowed. People gathered and someone called for the now famous "mic check" to start a general assembly to decide whether they should occupy an empty lot on the other side of a wooden wall from where they were. Some other protesters had small cardboard banners. One of the banners read: " I will never be able to pay off my student loan." Another read: "I will never own a home in my life."

More debate followed. Some thought the group should continue on their way to Zuccotti Park. Around 11 a.m., faith leaders from various religious groups gave a speech. "This is not about cynicism, this is about faith," a Catholic priest said, "We will build a world. Amen."

The group was fragmented, and some protesters decided to climb the wooden wall separating the crowd from the adjacent empty lot. The speaker said the space belonged to Trinity Church. Some protesters started to bring stepstools in an effort to scale the wall but the NYPD quickly stopped them. These protesters had a Plan B. They broke the lock of the fence and went inside the lot.

I saw a flow of what looked like state troopers exiting a white police bus. They lined up and started to move towards the now-broken gate to the lot. I was standing by the gate next to a group of police when, through the crowd, I saw people distributing red roses. Protesters were chanting, "This park belongs to the God" and "police always incite the violence."

Protesters were waiting to hear from the owner of the Trinity Church compound. NYPD told the protesters that if Trinity Church does not allow them to stay then everyone inside would be arrested.

Soon, one of the protesters made an announcement that Trinity Church had denied the protesters' request to stay inside the park. People screamed in protest as the police moved in to make arrests.

Ravi Kumar is a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. if you would like to contribute to the Huffington Post as a citizen journalist, please sign up at www.offthebus.org.