Home Crisis Management Police Face-off Against Occupy Protesters

Police Face-off Against Occupy Protesters

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By Timothy Hardiman

The Occupy movement attempted to revive itself on May 1 by staging protests in cities around the country. Occupy movement marches, strikes and other acts of civil disobedience were planned in about 135 U.S. cities in an attempt to “disrupt the status quo,” according to this article.

Seattle seems to have experienced the most violence during these protests, when a mostly peaceful protest spiraled out of control around noon and resulted in anarchist demonstrators smashing shop windows, attacking banks and allegedly staging random, unexplained assaults on innocent people in cars, according to this article.
 
The demonstrators who led these violent attacks were black-clad protesters referred to as members of “black bloc.” These are the groups who take “direct action” against the police and corporate targets. Clashes between police and the blac blocs turned violent in New York (search #black bloc on Twitter for photos). These cells rehearse and have a robust command and control mechanism for an allegedly “leaderless” group.
 
Many members of this group wear bandanas, which masks their identity during direct actions. They soak their bandanas in vinegar, which supposedly protects them from pepper spray. Other tactics they have used in the past include throwing urine-filled balloons at police, firing ball bearings with sling shots and using trash cans as improvised weapons.
 
In New York, police reported 10 instances of harmless white powder – apparently meant to raise an anthrax scare – being mailed to financial institutions and others, along with a note saying, “Happy May Day … This is a reminder you are not in control.” So far none of the substances have tested positive for a dangerous substance, but police must handle each one as if it was real.
 
Police will counter these actions with specially trained task force officers who have been briefed on black bloc tactics. In addition, there will be legal advisors on the scene and police will attempt to document criminal activity through photographs and video. These videos can then be used as evidence of perps arrested at the scene and as a way to identify them during subsequent investigations, should they have escaped during the protests. 
 
Overall, arrests seem to be fairly low. In New York, police arrested about 30 people for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following a series of scuffles throughout the day. At least 12 were arrested in Portland, Oregon, and 10 in Los Angeles, and 12 in Seattle, according to this article.

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