Detroit’s downtown Grand Circus Park is a campground. It’s the temporary campground for Occupy Detroit, a spinoff of the national protest started on Wall Street in New York City about a month ago. The Occupy movement is a demonstration against corporate greed, home ownership foreclosures and social injustice.
Riding my bike through Detroit’s makeshift site reminded me a state park campsite, but without the amenities. The living quarters of those camped there was tents, and there were plenty of them. All lined up like cars in a parking lot. At the small site, I saw large tarps suspended over sections of the grassy areas supported by the trees found within the park. Beneath them were information booths, a food area, latrines, and various cause-related displays. The cement walk ringing the park’s inner fountain is where activists gathered to shout out their anti-big business messages, and others pertaining to the shrinking middle class in an effort to gain attention and hopefully bring about change.
The outer perimeter of the unusual, urban camp site was lined with steel barricade, crowd control type fencing. The fencing was where many of the protesters hung their anti-big business and other theme related hand-drawn signs. Looking at them, the underlying message seemed to be no tax breaks for the top 1% of the economic scale. Other points included stopping the bailout of banks, a moratorium on home foreclosures, helping those that have lost their homes or having been laid off from their jobs, and other devastating economic woes facing the middle and lower classes.
Pedaling through and around the park I checked out the many of the makeshift signs. In most cases, it was clear to me that Detroit’s close-knit group of diverse, dedicated demonstrators had well-defined, targeted messages.