It’s been a brutal couple months for the Occupy Movement, but a crackdown of nationwide, orchestrated violence began early last week when Mayor Bloomberg made the decision to evict Zuccotti Park and continued on Friday when videos surfaced of police in riot gear pepper-spraying peaceful UC Davis students.
From Oakland to New York, Denver to Seattle, and from Berkley to Portland, the use of tear gas, batons, pepper spray and rubber bullets against the almost-always peaceful protesters paints a violent picture in America, and to what end? When did these situations become so common? And when did the tactics police are using across the country become acceptable?
Here are some videos of police brutality against protesters across America.
Oakland, October 25.
This is perhaps one of the most disturbing videos. It sounds and looks like a war zone with tear gas filling the air, people screaming and yelling “medic!” At the 1:00 mark, you see Scott Olsen, the veteran who was shot in the head by a tear gas canister, being carried out by fellow protesters.
Denver, October 31.
Police march into the camp with guns filled with rubber bullets and its not long before you see them beating someone to the ground. Profanity and screams ensue.
October 29. This is taken from a farther perspective. The sound of rubber bullets, sirens and people screaming for a medic in broad daylight paints another war-like scene.
November 13. Police run and attack a few protesters while screaming for everyone to get back, and at one point gets aggressive with a protester already on the ground.
Berkley, November 9
Seemingly unprovoked, police start beating back protesters with batons and remain relentless for over a minute before things calm down.
Again at night, police start pushing back protesters with batons, bringing some of them to the ground.
Portland, November 13.
Police use force with batons to stop the protesters from moving. The caption on the video says, “Riot police clash with Occupy Portland Protesters who ask the police, ‘whom are you protecting’?” “Take off your suit,” “You’re sexy,” “You’re cute,” and “Shame on you,” were among the chants…”
Wall Street, September 28.
A longer look at the march to Union square that ended in violence with police taking down protesters one at a time as they tried to barricade themselves in.
October 7. Police ruthlessly beat protesters with batons from every angle, riot ensues as barricades are broken.
November 15. Police make arrests at Zuccotti Park.
November 15, Police evict Zuccotti Park.
Boston, October 11.
Police crack down on Veterans for Peace and arrest 141 protesters.
October 11. Assaults and arrests of Boston Protesters.
Seattle, November 15
UC Davis, November 18.
The most recent, and perhaps the most disturbing attack against protesters yet. Police begin ruthlessly pepper-spraying peaceful protesters sitting on the ground, linking arms, after they refuse to leave the park. As some get up, police arrest them, but as the video goes on, you can see the police being run out.
Another longer look from the beginning of students preparing themselves. The fact that police are standing there getting ready to pepper spray these students is nothing short of ruthless behavior. One student who spoke out said afterwards that students kept attempting to cover their faces and eyes, police forced their mouths open and forced pepper spray down their throats. Several people were hospitalized, some seriously injured and coughing up blood.
An article in the Atlantic, appropriately titled, “Too Much Violence and Pepper Spray at the OWS Protests,” also provides a compelling, if not violent, look of the attacks that have taken place over the few weeks.
Whether you agree or disagree with what OWS protesters across the country are fighting for, at the end of the day, I think we all can agree the violence they’re facing is unnecessary and brutal. This was still America, the last time I checked.
What do you think of the escalating violence against OWS protesters?