The brutal crackdown by police across the country last night should concern us all. OWS has proven itself to be a peaceful movement and has committed no violence. Yet despite only being armed with just sleeping bags, tents, computers, and books, government elected officials have chosen to use clubs, pepper spray, and all out brute force against protesters.
Leading up to last night’s confrontations that occurred from New York to Dallas, Seattle, and California, we have since learned that about 18 mayors from across the country held a conference call to form a nationwide plan to raid the encampments and force people out in hopes of putting an end to Occupy Wall Street. Based on reports and video from the different cities including my own Seattle, it was clear they all used the same techniques. It reminded me of what we saw in the Arab Spring, police states trying to squelch dissension of the people.
In New York Mayor Bloomberg actually prevented the press from reporting on their crackdown and actually ended up arresting approximately 11 reporters along with 1 city councilman. This councilman ended up spending 17 hours in jail and was not given his right to speak to his lawyer.
Occupy Seattle had actually submitted their planned protest route ahead of time to Seattle PD to ensure a safe, orderly march, however, when the march reached a certain point police made a calculated decision to block the route. They then boxed in the protesters and indiscriminately doused the entire crowd with pepper spray.
The consequence was chaos. An elderly lady, a member of the Fox News described OWS mob, was pepper sprayed, almost trampled and ended up being rescued by an Iraq War veteran. A pregnant woman was sent to the hospital. A priest was injured.
…..the Seattle Police Department learn the lessons articulated by Norm Stamper, former Chief of Police for the city during the WTO protests who last week wrote about the protests “My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose.” The Mayor’s apology asks that Occupy Seattle work with the city. We do work with the city. On this particular night, we had informed the police of our march and route in advance so as to assure public safety. Given that the police blocked our passage and then used pepper spray indiscriminately suggests that it is not Occupy Seattle that is unwilling to work with the city, but rather that SPD is not willing to work with Occupy Seattle.
This type of brutality was not called for. These were clear choices on the part of our local governments. Is this America where under the constitution we have the right to peacefully protest. This blatant attempt to end a peaceful movement by brute force on the behest of our elected government officials has been atrocious. They are sending riot police to attack a peaceful movement.
Do they not read our history. This has never worked. From the suffrage movement to the civil rights era protests and Vietnam protests, violence has had 1 major result — it increases our numbers. My question is what is next. What is in the pipeline of their arsenal. Will they take a page from the Tiananmen Square protests and roll out the tanks, bring out the national guard.