This Is Why You Should Go See The Protests for Yourself Instead of Listening to an Armchair Conservative
Occupy Wall Street is a response to the fact 1% of this country control a huge amount of its wealth and the political process. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or would rather try to discredit the movement by focusing on the actions of a mentally ill man in the OWS-Oakland camp this week.
Today, 3,000 people marched through the streets of Oakland. The protest is peaceful. It is on public property and is action that should be protected by the First Amendment. If the Oakland city government wanted to act in support of this non-violent action to push for true financial and government reform, it would not have sent in over 500 riot police armed with shotguns, truncheons, riot shields and tear gas. They would not have deployed APCs and used military grade sonic weapons on protestors. Anyone who thinks the Oakland police or government has acted in support of OWS or has acted reasonably needs to spend some time at the protest.
Over 100 people were arrested today. A peaceful march resulted in a violent reaction from the Oakland Police Department. Things began early this morning when police officers invaded the OWS camp, tore up tents, used flash grenades and tear gas and physically removed protestors from the plaza.
Later this evening, after the march where more individuals were arrested while protesting non-violently; police fired multiple salvos of tear gas and flash grenades at peacefully assembled protestors. The local news estimated that 500 riot police were on hand to deal with a protest that was lawful and non-violent. Individuals were shot with tear gas canisters, bean bags and rubber bullets. The police did this multiple times and without substantial provocation. The Oakland government spent thousands of dollars on helicopters and overtime in order to try and stop people from speaking out against the systemic economic inequality in this country.
I'm proud to see other Boalt students out there, both doing Legal Observer work and simply adding their voices and presence to the OWS movement. I would encourage everyone to come see for themselves what is happening in downtown Oakland instead of relying on the accounts of individuals who aren't actively going to OWS and aren't sympathetic to the 99%.