"Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."
- Ben Franklin
It is a time of worldwide discontent. Tunisia was one of the early hot spots. It led to the fall of governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Lybia. One protest inspires another. Some are just; some are less thoughtful.
With economic hardship in the U.S. and in Europe, those affected are expressing their frustration and pain on the streets. The protests in Greece after their economic collapse and proposed austerity measures have been many and intense.
And now with our own economic recession, wrongdoing in many levels of our economy, and bailouts of institutions "too big to fail", the protests have hit here. We've discussed the Occupy movement on other threads. The cause seems noble enough; the reality is what it is.
I post this because it is about conflict in the broader sense. It isn't one-on-one, but it is all about the kinds of things that professionals (e.g. Roy Bedard) think about and train for.
Wall Street Journal wrote:
OCTOBER 27, 2011
Occupy Clashes Test Mayors
Police and Protesters Scuffle in Oakland, While Eviction Leads to More Than 50 Arrests in Atlanta
The growing size and raucousness of some Occupy Wall Street protests are putting pressure on mayors—even a few who initially welcomed the movements—to shut them down as concerns mount about safety and extended use of public spaces.
Protesters in Atlanta and Oakland, Calif., vowed Wednesday to fight eviction orders after being displaced from their encampments under orders from their respective mayors. "Sorry guys, but this isn't over," a 21-year-old Oakland protester who would only give his name as "D" told two police officers Wednesday morning. He and others said they would continue clashes with officers after they were evicted from a City Hall plaza under an order from Mayor Jean Quan.
Police Crack Down on Protesters
The trouble began after some demonstrators in front of the Oakland Library Tuesday afternoon began throwing "paint or other hazardous material" at officers, said a statement from Oakland police posted on Twitter. The police responded by firing tear gas at the crowd, according to the statement, which said officers deployed gas a second time at about 7:45 p.m. after demonstrators refused to follow an order to disperse.
Police said protesters threw M-80 fireworks at the officers as well as objects including bottles, rocks, pots and pans. Police added that they responded by firing about four "bean-bag rounds" at protesters.
Ms. Quan, a Democrat, had marched with the protesters a few weeks ago. But in a statement Tuesday, she said she closed the encampment because of safety and health concerns. "Many Oaklanders support the goals of the national Occupy Wall Street movement," she said. "However, over the last week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the city could maintain safe or sanitary conditions." Ms. Quan wasn't available for comment Wednesday.
Some protesters said they did nothing to provoke the police. Paul Burton, 56, who identified himself only as a union member, said officers fired tear gas for no apparent reason as they ordered the crowds to disperse. "I could not believe it," Mr. Burton said. "Just the sheer number of officers used to disperse them was incredible."
More than 2,500 arrests have been made associated with the Occupy movement world-wide, according to the "@OccupyArrests" Twitter feed.
News Hub hosts Kelly Evans and Evan Newmark discuss the Occupy: Oakland protests. Demonstrators were met by police late Tuesday night, who used tear gas to clear the public space being used for protests.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, also a Democrat, had last week issued an executive order allowing the protesters to camp at Woodruff Park in downtown until Nov. 7. But police arrested more than 50 protesters and closed the park in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, after Mr. Reed changed his mind. The protesters "moved from conducting an initially peaceful demonstration to increasingly aggressive actions," Mr. Reed said in a statement. Among his apparent concerns were an unauthorized hip-hop concert held at the park last Saturday, which drew large crowds, and a protester who circled the park Tuesday toting an AK-47, which he had a permit to carry but which unnerved others in the park.
On Wednesday, after being released from jail, Occupy Atlanta leader Tim Franzen said protesters planned to continue the movement. Mr. Reed has become the "arch enemy" in the eyes of the Atlanta protesters, with some members saying he should be recalled, Mr. Franzen said.
Mr. Reed has faced a difficult balancing act with the protesters. Students and young people played a crucial role in his narrow victory in 2009. But his decision to let the protesters camp out for three weeks drew complaints from businesses and neighborhood groups in a downtown district that he is struggling to revive.
More than 100 Occupy Chicago protesters marched to city hall Wednesday flanked by police on bicycles and four legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild. At city hall, the protesters piled into elevators and rode to the fifth floor, gathering outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, where they chanted, "Whose house? Our house!"
On each of the past two Sundays, police have arrested more than 100 protesters who refused to leave Chicago's Grant Park after it closed.
Demonstrators carry away a man hit by a tear-gas canister fired by the city's police.
Members of Mr. Emanuel's administration have offered to meet with the protesters, and Mr. Emanuel, a Democrat who is a former congressman and White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, "is committed to striking a balance that is right for the city and for the protesters," said Chris Mather, Mr. Emanuel's spokeswoman.
She added the protesters will be allowed to stay in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have maintained a steady presence, as long as they don't block the public way.
Meanwhile, in New York, a New York Police Department spokesman said at least 10 arrests were made Wednesday night as protesters went on an unannounced march through Manhattan. It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the clashes. The spokesman said the protesters were charged with disorderly conduct.
At the Lower Manhattan park in New York where the Occupy movement began, a sense of near-permanence has set in. Unlike in early days of the protests 5½ weeks ago, when police tore down anything resembling a tent, the park is now filled with makeshift dwellings.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has little say over ending the protests because people are camped out in a park that is open to the public but owned by Brookfield Office Properties Inc. The landlord has backed off its initial demands that the New York Police Department or private security evict the protesters or enforce its rules for the park, nearly all of which are being broken.
At first, Mr. Bloomberg voiced strong disagreement with the protesters, but he has since softened his tone. "Every city has to deal with the realities of how many people, where they are, what their tolerance is for freedom of speech," the mayor said Wednesday.