Occupy Charlotte leaders are divided over what to do in light of the brutal crackdown by the police in New York and Oakland California against the Occupy movement protesters. Some are opting to stay the course, others have decided to go “underground” and become more secretive and clandestine in what they do…
In Oakland police have used “flash grenades, tear gas and billy clubs” against peaceful protesters.
In New York, the trend is towards violence against protesters. We have dozen of videos of police using pepper stray and penning protesters ( see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBC2gNRk63s , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ05rWx1pig&feature=related).
The great fear in Charlotte is that if police try and crush the movement Anonymous (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9ig57_XnwY) might respond with mass disruptions of police and city websites.
“We want to be peaceful in our protest but we also have to guard against police brutality and violations of our civil rights. We have many measures in place to do that that includes surveillance. The problem is if this gets out of hand the Occupy Charlotte, protest could erupt into violence on the street. Already in Oakland and New York the trend seems to be going in that direction”, says Robert Foxx of Charlotte, N.C.
In Oakland thousands have came out to march against police violence with some demanding the police chief be fired. This could get ugly real fast and we could have a type of Arab spring movement arise where people begin seeing the police as the enemy. As more people are hurt or caught up in the violence people will take sides and America itself could be split.
“This is a global movement around the world in many ways and it is spreading in America as more people come out in opposition to authority and police”, said Fred Goodman.
An informal survey of people in Charlotte indicates people are split on this issue of what to do against the protesters. Five of 10 people polled indicated the police should not hurt or arrest protesters in Charlotte, as they did in Oakland. Mabelle Reid of Charlotte said, “This would be counterproductive.”
What needs to happen is dialogue, but city officials and police are for the most part not trying to do that. In Charlotte meanwhile the tension is growing. With some on the Occupy Charlotte movement fractioning off and creating their own mini, occupy groups. Some of these groups are specializing in certain areas like surveillance with “over watch” responsibilities. So far, all the groups agree that non-violence is the way to go, but they are in disagreement over what should happen if Charlotte police try heavy-handed tactics and deploy riot forces to disrupt and arrest protesters. “To police officers YOU WILL BE IDENTIFIED”, said Mathew Thompson of Charlotte. He then showed me an example where an unprovoked incident was caught on video and the police officer in that case was identified. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS071Mpp1Eo&feature=related).
Violence begets violence!
“You arrest one guy brutalized by police in Oakland and you have his friends and family involved and in turn their friends and family involved. This is how it spreads. In Charlotte the same thing will happen, only someone will catch it on camera and it could go viral on the net”, says Erin Whittier of Charlotte, who has relatives in the Oakland area who are reporting on the tactics of the police there.
Already numerous videos are being posted on YouTube showing how police are cracking down on protesters (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLyUK0t0vQ).
In one case a Marine vet was wounded by tear gas http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Wogvao7lFFY
There are literally hundreds of these video out there. This will end badly, because the writing is on the wall already that when you use riot tactics on protesters you fan the flames of distrust of the government and local institutions. We need to be unified in America before this violence spreads and becomes a civil war with people demanding regime change against those responsible for the the violence. In Oakland, the police chief will have to resign eventually, so will the Mayor and it will affect the re-election of city council members.
This polarization is not good for anyone. Especially with national elections a few months away.
We have to be careful.