Sleepful protests continue to grow

Allison Kilkenny writes: Much to the surprise of many observing Occupy Wall Street’s newest tactic, “sleepful protests,” in which activists camp on sidewalks by Wall Street, the NYPD allowed protesters to sleep in the area around the financial district for a fourth straight night yesterday.

“SleepOWS” now has a Twitter account (so you know it’s official), @sleeponwallst, that posted this morning: “81 indignant sleeping across Wall St, Nassau, Broad. Happy Friday!”

If this latest count is accurate, it means the movement is gradually growing (seventy-five people slept around Wall Street on Tuesday), and New York magazine hypothesized those numbers could swell further as the weather continues to warm and sleeping outside is no longer such an arduous task. (photo by @johnknefel)

“Finally here we are, in the belly of the beast,” said one overnighter.

For those of us who have covered the NYPD’s oftentimes brutal treatment of OWS protesters, this new friendly approach to the movement borders on the surreal.

“I just saw a rank and file NYPD officer flash a quick peace sign at Occupiers bedding down by the stock exchange,” Guardian journalist Ryan Devereaux tweeted last night.

Of course, the NYPD’s new approach to Occupy may have less to do with a collective change of heart and more to do with a mix of bad PR and recognition of legal boundaries.

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