Yesterday, as some of the biggest sites on the web ‘blacked out’ in bold protests of the deeply flawed anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in several cities across the US to take the fight offline.
Fellow TC reporter Eric Eldon was on the scene in San Francisco — you can find his report here — and I scoped out the protest being held in midtown New York City. As you’ll see in the video, the crowd was densely packed in an area cordoned off by police officers directly across the street from the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who are co-sponsors of PIPA.
It was an energetic scene, with cheers punctuated by speeches from a half-dozen speakers including Clay Shirky of NYU, Alexis Ohanian, and organizers from NY Tech Meetup, which was largely responsible for helping the event come together.
The crowd grew to several hundred — perhaps over 500 — people in attendance (as you’ll see in an interview above, NY Tech MeetUp Chairman Andrew Rasiej says there were actually 2,500 people in attendance, though that number seems high to me). In any case, based on yesterday’s footage it looks like the NYC protest was even larger than the one held in SF, which is somewhat surprising given the later’s proximity to Silicon Valley.