Entries in May Day (2)


Former ’60s Activist Bill Ayers Among May Day Protesters

May Day Protest in NYC. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages(CHICAGO) -- Occupy protesters have amped up May Day labor demonstrations across the country with a wide range of partnering organizations and individuals. Former 60s anti-war activist William “Bill” Ayers is among those protesting in Chicago on Tuesday.

He said he planned to participate in the May Day demonstration at Union Park in Chicago and the subsequent march.

“We’ll march right past the scene of the Haymarket massacre,” Ayers said of the protest in favor of an eight-hour work day in 1886 that was bombed. “There used to be a big statute in tribute to police power but it was taken down. Now there’s a wonderful piece of public art celebrating the movement for labor rights and the anarchists’ movement.”

Ayers is a retired professor of education reform at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of multiple books, including Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist (2009) and To Teach: The Journey, in Comics (2010).

He and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, former leaders of the radical anti-war group the Weather Underground, paid a visit to Occupy Wall Street protesters in Union Square Park in New York on March 30.

In a call with ABC News, Ayers declined to comment about that meeting.

Ayers said he has participated in May Day labor demonstrations “for about 50 years.”

“May Day is an international workers holiday all over the world. Only in U.S. do we not celebrate that history.”

Dohrn is a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and founder of its Children and Family Justice Center.

Ayers did not mention the May Day protests on his blog, instead drawing attention to a petition on April 29 opposing educational “privatization while undermining public education.”

Ayers was a flashpoint for a brief controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Opponents of Barack Obama criticized the then candidate for having ties to the former radical. Ayers later disputed the claim, writing an op-ed in the New York Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


May Day Protest? Banks Get White Powder Envelopes

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Envelopes containing suspicious powder were sent through the mail to at least seven locations in Manhattan, primarily Wells Fargo banks, in an apparent May Day protest, police officials said.

"This is a reminder that you are not in control," said a message that arrived with the envelopes. "Just in case you needed some incentive to stop working we have a little surprise for you. Think fast you have seconds."

Four of the seven samples have tested negative so far. The envelopes apparently contained corn starch.

Police believe the suspicious envelopes were mailed by militants from within the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Labor, immigration and Occupy Wall Street activists are planning protests for "May Day," May 1, which also is known as international workers' day. The intent is to show the "1 percent" what life without the working class' "99 percent" would be like.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo may have been singled out for the white powder mailings because about half of a key dozen Occupy Wall Street members have backgrounds in Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley, and similar incidents occurred in California earlier this week, police sources said.

In the New York cases, the envelopes mainly appear to have reached low-level workers at the bank branches.

"Apparently the message was aimed at the mailroom workers among the '99 percent,'" New York police spokesman Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

The envelopes, intended for May Day delivery, arrived at the banks early.

"They underestimated the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service," one official said.

Occupy Wall Street threatens to block New York-area tunnels and bridges in the morning of May 1 in an effort to keep commuters from arriving at work, police officials said. They also have urged pickets at "99 locations," an obviously symbolic number.

The Occupy movement has identified 30 to 40 locations, including banks, where they intend to block entrances, officials said.

There will be a significant amount of police officers on duty to counter the protests, though police officials did not give specific numbers on the planned deployment. The day shift is the largest of three tours, with a minimum of 7,000 officers routinely on duty and the ability to hold the overnight shift for coverage.

An additional large number of officers will be on duty for a labor march slated for 5:30 p.m. That march has for several years been a peaceful event by organized labor.

In Los Angeles, officials said 2,500 police will be on duty for the May Day events, and there will be a command center with nearly 100 officers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio