Since it first cropped up last month, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement has strengthened, with protests spreading throughout the nation and the world. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported some demonstrators were arrested in Texas and Oregon:
In Portland, Ore., police have allowed protesters to sleep in two parks surrounded by office buildings despite policies outlawing camping, but Mayor Sam Adams warned demonstrators last week that he would not allow them to take over any more parks. Late Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered in another park — Jamison Square in the wealthy Pearl District — and defied a midnight curfew.
About 30 people who had decided to risk arrest sat on the ground as other protesters walked around them and chanted “Whose Park? Our Park!” and “Make No Arrests.”
When police moved in around 2 a.m., all but the sitting protesters backed off.
The AP continued:
Police in Austin, Texas, made 39 arrests early Sunday as they moved to enforce a new rule banning food tables in the City Hall plaza where protesters have camped out. Some protesters surrounded the tables with arms linked.
Most were charged with criminal trespass, Police Chief Art Acevedo said. No injuries were reported.
The protests took a dark turn last week when violence broke out at the Occupy Oakland rally, leaving an Iraq war veteran critically injured. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writes that we need to condemn this police brutality as well as the actions that incited these demonstrations in the first place:
We definitely need to condemn police brutality against peacefully protesting demonstrators in the U.S.; there are reports of escalating force used by police in Denver, Colo. this weekend. Faith leaders are uniting to condemn violence by police in a petition from the groupFaithful America. The petition says, “As people of faith, we condemn all violence and repression targeting the Occupy Wall Street movement. In communities across America, occupiers are providing a peaceful witness against corporate greed and economic injustice. We call on local authorities to respect their freedom of expression.”
We must not lose sight of the fact, as the Faithful America petition highlights, that there is an original violence that created the #occupy protests in the United States; this is the “corporate greed and economic injustice” of Wall Street. This is not the murderous regime of Hosni Mubarak, certainly. But it is violence nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Christopher Guizlo argues that perhaps protesters should shift their focus:
The “ We are the 99 percent” Tumblr account features countless faces and stories of frustration with the economic problems our country is going through. A dominating theme is people who graduated from college with huge amounts of debt and are having trouble paying back their student loans while trying to make ends meet. Maybe it’s time to Occupy Higher Education.