Photos: May Day general strike marked at Civic Center Park
Original post, 6:45 a.m.: If you're looking for a break, you might find one in this paragraph. In conjunction with International Workers' Day, Occupy Denver and a handful of other community groups are promoting a May Day free of civic responsibility. In order to bring attention to workers' rights, supporters are encouraged to refrain from work, school and any kind of commerce -- don't even think about banking or shopping -- for the entire 24 hours. Instead, your empty day can be filled at Civic Center Park.
Because Civic Center Park is scheduled for repairs through mid-June, supporters will use the areas that aren't blocked off for the May Day event. Preparation began two and a half months ago and terminates tomorrow in a day of music, poetry and education.
After a noon rally and march, Denver's activists, hooky-players and day-offers will meet in the park's amphitheater for sessions of spoken word and performance art in addition to Denver's Wheelchair Sports Camp, Sole (Tim Holland) and other acts. From 5 to 8 p.m., Denver Handmade Homemade Market will experiment with the barter system by allowing participants to trade merchandise without the use of money.
So far, backing from local businesses "hasn't been incredible," Holland says, but the group has organized support from a handful of area political and activist organizations that have pledged to celebrate May Day. So far, the list includes the Mercury Cafe, which will shut its doors tomorrow, in addition to the Colorado Progressive Coalition, Romero Troupe, Colorado Anti-Violence Coalition, P&L Printing, and the Denver Greens, among others.
Here's Occupy Denver's May Day preview video:
"All over the world, if you're in Germany or Spain of Britain on May Day, the city is shut down and people are parading in the streets," Holland says. "People storm Corporate and have dance parties in the middle of these offices. It's a day for militant, radical action all over the world, whereas here it's barely recognized at all."
Although the event is less popular in North America, its Denver organizers hope to use it as a platform to re-institute a focus on the country's economic climate. "I think this will be a true test of the help of Occupy and where America is at right now," Holland says.
At 9:30 tomorrow night, Occupy Denver will also stage a sleep-in on the 16th Street Mall to protest City Council's proposed urban camping ban. After a vote, the group agreed to spend the night between Tremont and Welton near the Denver Pavilions theater in solidarity with the city's homeless population.
"The bottom line is that there will be a lot of direct actions, a lot of people doing a lot of different things," Holland says. "We want to see a lot of direct actions, a lot of disruption of commerce, a lot of activity -- a lot of community."
Click to view tomorrow's full May Day schedule.
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Photos: Urban camping is no picnic for Denver's homeless who sleep outside."