Sunday, December 4, 2011

What happened

I think that by now we've all seen the pictures of police pepper spraying protestors, and have heard about how they were violent to peaceful students who were protesting on their college campus.

Another side of the story has come out, and I would like to share some unedited footage (ok, which is actually a bunch of video clips stuck together so we are probably be missing some details) that I think needs to be shared. The video is very visually oriented though, with lots of text to explain what's happening, so I'll also provide a description of what happens for any of my readers who are blind.

Sometimes I'll be quoting the text from the video, sometimes I'll be paraphrasing or describing what I'm seeing.

1) It starts with the video of pepper spray being used, and saying that it's not the whole story. Then the video backs up to when the police first arrived.

2) "Campus police arrived to remove an Occupy camp. Protesters were notified the day before of this action. The police also gave verbal warnings of their intentions. Protestors attempted to shout them down." These warnings were given to the protestors who were camping -- not those who were "standing around and chanting."

3) "A second verbal warning is given." Yes, a second warning! An officer on a megaphone says "This is your last warning"...and yet goes on to give a third warning.

[I'm going to make an editorial comment right here and say that he didn't seem to want any trouble.]

4) The protestors move forward towards the police and another warning is given.

5) Police remove the tents.

6) "After clearing the tents and arresting protesters who attempted to stop them the police begin to leave." Then the protestors demand that the police release those who have been arrested.

In watching the video again I noticed that police do have guns out at this point (they may have before and I didn't notice) but never in this video do the police look like they're about to use their guns -- they've just got them ready to use if necessary, like if the protestors decide to turn violent.

7) Protestors march to where the police are holding those who have been arrested. "This is when protesters begin to form a circle around the police, and block their path." (Emphasis is my doing, as is all future emphasis.) The protestors surround the police so that they're trapped. At this point the most of the police have their batons out and are holding them with both hands, apparently ready to use.

[Another editorial comment: trapping the police doesn't sound very peaceful to me.]

8) "Protesters tell the police they will let them leave if they release the people they have arrested."

9) Police warn the protestors what the consequences of continuing to block them will be. In the video we can see some police walking up to the front line of protestors (who are sitting) and explaining it to individuals. I can't say that they talked to each person in the front line individually, but the police certainly tried to talk their way out of their position.

10) "Telling police you will let them leave if they release people they have arrested is a threatening action. The 'protesters' sitting on the ground are no longer protesting against high tuition or Wall Street, but are instead trying to keep the police from leaving."

11) "Some protesters seem intent on antagonizing the police." Again the police talk to the protesters, presumably trying to get them to move.

12) "Protesters suggest a resolution demanding the police leave the campus, yet they [the protesters] continue to block their [the polices'] path. The protesters do not seem to be aware of the serious situation they have created by blocking the police."

13) Again I see an officer walking up to one of the protesters, presumably the leader, trying to talk. I don't know what's said, but the text in the video is "Watch how easily protesters twist words. The police never said they were going to shoot the protesters." The protesters begin chanting "Don't shoot students!"

14) "Protesters are aware of the police preparing to use pepper spray." The protesters begin chanting "Don't shoot the children!" [Editorial comment: They're young adults, not children. Or do they want to be treated as children?] The police are seen with red canisters.

15) "The protesters have been given many warnings about what will happen if they refuse to clear the path."

16) Reinforcements arrive for the police. Or I assume it's reinforcements, since it's police showing up on the outside of the ring of protestors and walking towards those who are trapped. They can be heard in the video saying "Move!" and "Please step off the sidewalk." There's a police car that's coming along behind the reinforcements.

17) "Protesters begin screaming for the police not to use pepper spray to clear the path, yet just seconds before they were telling those on the ground to get ready for it." The protesters who are refusing to move get pepper sprayed.

18) "Now the protesters say they are willing to give the police a moment of peace... so much for peaceful protesters. The protesters say they will not follow the police as they did earlier. They also give the police permission to leave."

19) One protester is lifted up on someone else's shoulders. "The guy on the shoulders seems to be the leader, but he does not appear to be a student."

20) The police leave.

21) One last note from the maker of the video, which I agree with... "This could have been avoided had the protesters not attempted to trap the police and keep them from leaving." And the video ends.

By the way, what's up with the protestors yelling "Mic check!" ???? I really am perplexed on this point and am wondering what that was about.

I suppose that I could make more comments about this particular Occupy movement, but I think that from my tone above you can figure out my feelings.

However, I would like to make a note about the Occupy movements in general.

I agree with the basic idea of the Occupy movements. Things would be much better if most of the wealth in this country wasn't controlled by 1% of the population. However, I don't like the trouble that seems to go with the Occupy movements. For example, Occupy Portland camped out in some parks downtown and now the damage done to those parks is estimated to be almost $86,000. And where is that money going to come from? Tax payer dollars.


Judy said...

The premise of the OWS crowd is good...The majority of the population should not have to work two jobs or 60 hr weeks to survive and be able to sustain a family...the middle class has been eroding for a while and the funds seem to be accumulating at the top of the food chain...The OWS protest is not against the accumulation of money, it's about the cheaters among those accumulating funds unlawfully without consequences...

This protest however seems to have started about something else and students are notorious for pushing the envelope and being suseptable to an antagonizer among them which is what this looks like...unfortunately, the antagonizer can be placed by an outside group trying to make trouble and the students can't see's a matter of maturity... too bad...

Sarita Rucker said...

As a friend of mine pointed out, trouble makers can attach themselves to protests and cause trouble that the original protesters didn't intend. I can't say whether that's what happened here, though.