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May 3, 2012

Occupy's Trend to Violence

Almost all political movements have a fringe element which tends towards extremism, even violence, at times. The question is whether the extremists are integral to the movement or peripheral to it. So that while there are no doubt racists as part of the Tea Party movement, and advocates and perpetrators as part of the pro-life, anti-war, and environmental movements, these are clearly peripheral, not integral, to these movements. Partisans on both sides tend to claim that extremists withing a movement they oppose are integral to it, but most of the time they are wrong.

It is not clear that violence is periphera to the Occupy movement, and it may well be integral to it. Witness the following:

Violence, arrests at Seattle May Day protests
Seattle Times
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Black-clad protesters using sticks and bats smashed stores and automobile windows during May Day demonstrations that turned violent in Seattle, and police recovered homemade incendiary devices made from toilet paper rolls and fruit juice boxes.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn issued an emergency order Tuesday, allowing police to confiscate items that could be used as weapons. By Tuesday night, police had seized about 70 such items, including one with at least a dozen cigarette lighters taped together.

"Our concerns were real, and I think we handled it as best we could," police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said late Tuesday night. "These were, for the most part, peaceful demonstrations. It's such as shame that such a small group of individuals were able to hijack the event and dilute the message to one of violence. They came here and they smashed it up."

Did they "hijack" an otherwise peaceful movement or where they integral to it? Consider this trend (follow the link to the story at NRO for news links to each incident:

Occupy Wall Street Blotter
National Review The Corner
By Nathaniel Botwinick
May 2, 2012 12:11 P.M.

5/1/12: FBI Arrests Five Protesters Associated with Occupy Cleveland in Bomb Plot
The FBI arrested five men who were planning to bomb a bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The men are self-described members of Occupy Cleveland.

5/1/12: May Day in New York
Over 50 protesters were arrested over the course of the day in New York. Protesters were arrested for attempting to block traffic in midtown and on the bridges into Manhattan. There were also multiple arrests after members of the "Black Bloc" Wildcat march assaulted journalists who attempted to take pictures of them. Around 10 P.M., violence broke out in Lower Manhattan as police enforced the curfew on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, leading to clashes with protesters.

5/1/12: Violence in Seattle
In Seattle, more than a dozen protesters were arrested after violent attacks on local businesses. Seattle police recovered homemade incendiary devices from the scenes of the attacks. Vandals in Seattle smashed the entrances to the Niketown and American Apparel stores.

5/1/12: Occupy SF
Protesters attacked a row of small businesses in San Francisco on Monday. Over 100 masked protesters launched paint bombs at the Mission Police Station, and smashed windows and cars on Valencia Street.

11/21/11: Occupy London Cited for Defecation, Drugs, and Sex Offenders
The City of London Corporation has filed documents as part of an effort to evict the protesters from St. Paul's Cathedral. According to the police, "members of the camp [have been] continually urinating through the fence of the Chapter House and the Cathedral itself." There have also been arrests for "possession of a bladed article, failing to register a new address under the Sexual Offences Act, theft, assault (on) police, breach of bail, breach of the peace, (being) drunk and disorderly and possession of drugs." Remember, this is all taking place within St. Paul's Cathedral, one of the most important historical landmarks in England.

11/21/11: Police Arrest 15 at Occupation of Bank of America in Massachusetts
On Monday, 350 people protested foreclosures at a branch of Bank of America in Springfield, Massachusetts. Seven people were arrested for sitting down in the bank and refusing to leave, while eight others were arrested for blocking access to the exits or the ATMs. All 15 were charged with trespassing. A spokesman for the protesters demanded, "end all no-fault evictions and reduce principal on loan modifications to the current value."

11/20/11: Violence and Illegal Guns at Occupy Wall Street
The NYPD arrested Joshua Fellows, 32, of Youngstown, Ohio, for criminal possession of a weapon. He had been driving around Wall Street with an unregistered .45 caliber handgun and 32 rounds of ammunition. Four other protesters were arrested this weekend: Zach Breur, 22, was arrested for allegedly groping the breasts and buttocks of a 22-year-old woman. He was charged with two counts of forcible touching. Michael Doe, a homeless man, was arrested for tampering with the Christmas lights in the park. Another homeless man was also arrested for throwing an unknown liquid into the eyes of a police officer. Finally, Star Bun, 24, of Brooklyn, was arrested for trying to bring sleeping gear into Zuccotti Park. She was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

11/20/11: Bomb Threat at Occupy Fort Myers
Ryan Komosinski, 22, of Cape Coral, Florida, was arrested for threatening to bomb the Fort Myers police department. After a Facebook search, the police found a comment posted by Komosinksi that announced: "I'm bombing the FMPD, [expletive] them." Komosinski was reportedly enraged over the arrest of fellow protester Constance Galati, who was arrested on Thursday for trespassing, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer. But not to worry, fellow protesters insist that Ryan Komosinksi is "a very good kid."

11/19/11: Occupy Santa Cruz Connected with 93 Complaints, Including 200 Pounds of Human Waste
Santa Cruz county officials have released a list of 93 complaints of illegal and destructive behavior by the Occupy protesters near the county's main office and courthouse. County workers have documented "drug and alcohol use, public urination and defecation, littering, bathing in county restrooms, fights and more." The Occupy Santa Cruz movement has gained notoriety following "the discovery of an estimated 200 pounds of human feces near the county Veterans Memorial Building." The county was forced to call in a HAZMAT team to deal with the removal of the waste.

11/18/11: Woman Assaulted for Refusing to Join Occupy Protest at UC Berkeley
A female student was assaulted by a man at UC Berkeley after she refused to join the protest on Sproul Plaza. The suspect yelled, "people like you are the reason that California is in debt," and then threw a full aluminum bottle at the woman's face. The student called the police, who were unable to locate the suspect on the scene.

11/17/11: 275 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Two hundred and seventy five protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Wall Street to shut down the stock exchange and for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven police officers were injured, including one who was slashed with broken glass.

11/17/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Threaten Children
Occupy Wall Street protesters threatened small children, some as young as four, as they attempted to get to school. The children were forced to walk a gauntlet in between screaming protesters and the police as they attempted to reach their school. Some of the protesters yelled, "Follow those kids," and attempted to frighten their parents.

11/17/11: Police Evict Occupy Dallas
Eighteen protesters were arrested as police evicted Occupy Dallas's encampment. Dallas authorities said the situation had become "untenable" after "the arrests of almost two dozen demonstrators for blocking the entrance to a bank, arrest of a participant charged with failing to register as a sex offender and sexual assault of a child after being accused of having sex with a 14-year-old runaway at the camp, arrests for assault and public intoxication and a 9-month-old child taken into protective custody after the parents were living the campsite with the child."

11/17/11: 14 Arrested for Blocking Bridge at Occupy St. Louis
Fourteen protesters were arrested at the entrance to the Martin Luther King Bridge in St. Louis. They were protesting in solidarity with other movements across the country. Uniformed members of the SEIU helped direct the protest. The protesters were joined by the Teamsters, United Autoworkers, American Postal Workers, and other union members.

11/16/11: 16 Arrested at Occupy Cincinnati Following Visit by Jesse Jackson
Sixteen protesters were arrested at Occupy Cincinnati following a visit by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Fifteen protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing, while two were also charged with resisting arrest. Lloyd Jordan, 36, of Clifton, Illinois, was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business after he photographed a covert police vehicle, including the license plate. The second half of Jackson's speech was repeated by the crowd line by line: "It's not about a place . . . it's about a state of mind. We fight for jobs. . . . We fight for health care . . . We are determined . . .We are not going away. Move our tents . . . but not our spirit."

11/15/11: Police Shoot Gunman at Occupy Cal
Police shot a gunman who infiltrated Berkeley's Haas School of Business during major demonstrations at UC Berkeley. He was seen carrying a gun by a staff member in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. The police arrived at 2:19 p.m., and searched for the suspect in the building. Officers found the gunman in a third-floor computer room where there were at least four students. The suspect raised the gun and was shot by an officer. The protesters from Occupy Cal deny any affiliation with the man; there have been no statements from the police or the suspect so far regarding his views.

11/15/11: 5 Arrested at Occupy LA (Including for Assault and Masturbation)
Five people from the Occupy LA movement were charged on Tuesday with a variety of crimes. Farid Ahntab, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest for wielding a knife and as he tried to burn a food vendor. Robert Holland, Jr., 31, was charged with threatening someone with a knife and resisting arrest. Angele Chaidez, 21, has been charged with lewd conduct for allegedly masturbating on the steps of City Hall last week and exposing himself in public. Zachary Isaac, 21, was charged with battery for allegedly punching a woman in the face in her tent. Finally, Michael Howard Thomson, 51, was charged with two counts of battery and one count of resisting arrest. He tried to take a two-year-old from its parent and is accused of punching a mediator. Afterwards, he fought the officers who arrested him.

11/15/11: NYPD Clears Zuccotti Park, 200 Arrested
The New York Police Department moved in early this morning and cleared out the protesters from Occupy Wall Street. The protesters will be allowed to return to the park, but will not be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags. The protesters fought with police officers for several hours, and there were injuries reported amongst both the police and the protesters.

11/13/11: Man Threatens Woman with Arson at Occupy Portland
Occupy Portland protester threatens to burn down the house of a woman who disagrees with him.

11/13/11: Three Men Arrested With Explosives in Connection to Occupy Portland
Three men from Occupy Portland were arrested during a traffic stop after officers suspected they had marijuana in their possession. Upon searching the vehicle, the drugs were discovered. The officers also found within the car firecrackers and two commercially made mortars inside glass canning jars. The three men "told authorities that they knew the canning jar would explode, causing glass shrapnel to fly and possibly cause injury."

11/12/11: Woman Raped at Occupy Philadelphia
A woman was raped at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment by a man who had traveled from Michigan to join the protest. The suspect had been arrested previously for involvement in armed robberies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

11/10/11: "Send in the Clowns," Two Dressed as Clowns Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow were arrested for climbing the barricades surrounding the statue of the bull at Wall Street. They then performed a variety of antics before their arrest for disorderly behavior.

11/10/11: Occupy Atlanta Shelter Tests Positive for Tuberculosis
Several people at the Atlanta shelter have contracted tuberculosis. At least one of those infected has contracted the more dangerous, drug-resistant form of TB. The shelter is one of the largest encampments at Occupy Atlanta.

11/10/11: Six more arrests at Occupy Fresno
Six people were arrested last night in Fresno for failure to disperse. This brings the weekly total of arrests at Occupy Fresno to 55.

11/10/11: Sotheby's Also Targeted by Occupy Wall Street, 8 Arrested
Eight protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Sotheby's during its final sale of the fall season. They were there in support of the Teamsters union, which is currently engaged in a labor dispute with Sotheby's.

11/10/11: Man Shot to Death at Occupy Oakland
A young man was shot fatally in the head outside the Occupy Oakland gathering Thursday evening. There are still no suspects or leads in the case.

11/9/11: 39 Arrests at Berkeley
Thirty-nine people were arrested at Berkeley as part of OccupyCal. Protesters set up tents despite Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's request that they refrain. Thirty-two students and one faculty member were among those arrested. The majority of the arrests were for obstruction of justice or unlawful assembly. Two arrests were for assault and battery.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Assaults EMT
An EMT was injured at Occupy Wall Street. Joshua Ehrenberg, 20, of Rochester, NY, was arrested for felony assault and obstructing governmental administration for attacking the EMT. The EMT was injured when Mr. Ehrenberg's friends, in an attempt to prevent NYPD officers from assisting the EMT, fell on either a barricade or a ladder, which trapped the EMT underneath. The EMT suffered injuries to his ankle and knee.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Arrested for Public Lewdness
Xavier Maslowsky, 25, was arrested for exposing himself to others at Zuccotti Park.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested for Blocking Sidewalk with Square-Dance Lesson
A group of 50 protesters staged a square dance on the sidewalk around the plaza at Liberty and Cedar. The revelers were told repeatedly to disperse. Zachary Kamul, 25, was given two summonses for disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon when he refused to disperse. Sebastian Posada, 24, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest when he attempted to run from police into the middle of Broadway.

11/5/11: Man Arrested at Occupy Wall Street for Urinating on an NYPD van
Edgar Rivera, 26, was arrested for relieving himself at 1:20 a.m. on an NYPD van. He attempted to escape, but was captured a half a block away. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

11/5/11: 19 Arrested at Occupy Atlanta
Protesters gathered in support of police pressure on Occupy Atlanta were subjected to arrests. Two were arrested for failing to leave Woodruff Park after the 11 p.m. close and 17 were arrested for obstructing traffic after leaving the park.

11/5/11: 20 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Most of the protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, though three were arrested for assaulting a police officer. The incidents occurred at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, near the New York State Court of Appeals. According to witnesses, police had asked the protesters to refrain from blocking the sidewalks and the stairs to the courthouse.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for setting another person's clothes on fire
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for striking a man with a tent pole
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/4/11: Occupy Fort Carson Protester Arrested for $10 Million Arson
Benjamin Gilmore, 29, was arrested on suspicion of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief in connection to a fire on October 24 in a construction site.

11/4/11: Occupy Wall Street protester arrested for violence in McDonald's
Fisika Bezabeh rioted inside the McDonald's by Wall Street at 2 a.m., when workers refused to give him free food. He tore a credit card reader from the counter and threw it at employees. Mr. Bezabeh has been charged with criminal mischief.

11/4/11: Bronx Teacher Arrested for Assaulting Police
David Suker of Bronx Regional High School was arrested for knocking a police officer off his scooter using a shopping cart. He is charged with attempted assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. This is his second arrest; he was previously arrested during the October 1 march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

11/4/11: Occupy DC Attacks Americans for Prosperity event
Protesters attempted to storm the building where the AFP was holding a conference. Afterwards, they assaulted two elderly women, sending them to the hospital, and blockaded the streets surrounding the building.

11/3/11: 15 Arrested Outside Goldman Sachs
Fifteen protesters were arrested outside Goldman Sachs, including Christopher Hedges of The Nation Institute and Reverend Billy of the Church of Earthalajuh. The protesters staged a trial of Goldman Sachs executives and were arrested when they proceeded to sit and block the entrance to Goldman Sachs.

11/3/11: Occupy Oakland Riots
Riot police used tear gas and other methods to disperse Occupy Oakland rioters. The protesters lit barricades on fire, hurled rocks, explosives, and other projectiles at police. Massive acts of vandalism were committed against several banks. Several dozen were eventually arrested.

11/2/11: Occupy Philadelphia takes over Comcast Headquarters
Occupy Philadelphia protesters sat in Comcast's lobby and demanded repayment of its tax abatement. Nine were arrested for trespass.

11/2/11: Tonye Ikebutosin Arrested for Rape at Occupy Wall Street
A 26-year-old man from Crown Heights was arrested for the sexual assault and rape of a fellow Occupy Wall Street protester. He raped the 18-year-old woman after sharing a tent with her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman after helping her set up her tent. Iketubosin has been working in the Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

10/27/11: 14 Arrested in NYC for March in Support of Occupy Oakland
Protesters took over the streets and marched through lower Manhattan, resulting in arrests for disorderly conduct, rioting, and resisting arrest.

10/25/11: 53 Arrests at Occupy Atlanta
Fifty-three people were arrested at Occupy Atlanta. Among those arrested was State Senator Vincent Fort. This was a reversal from the previous acceptance of Occupy Atlanta by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed explained his decision by saying, "Occupy Atlanta protesters attempted to hold an unsanctioned concert over the weekend ... Last week, demonstrators inserted wire hangers into electrical sockets to create additional power sources ... [There has been] a persistent and dangerous disregard for public safety."

10/25/11: 75 Arrested During Attempted Clearing of Occupy Oakland
Police arrested 75 people while attempting to disperse the Occupy Oakland encampment.

10/23/11: David Park, serial sexual assaulter, arrested
David Park, who attempted to rape several women, was finally arrested by the NYPD. The women declined to press charges, but the NYPD held him on an open-container violation.

10/22/11: NYPD arrests 30 in OWS March in Harlem
Police arrested 30 protesters, including Cornel West, for blocking the entrance to the Harlem police precinct. The protesters were demonstrating against the NYPD's "stop and frisk" procedures.

10/14/11: 14 Arrested by NYPD in Marches Connected with Park Cleaning
Fourteen protesters arrested despite Mayor Bloomberg's decision to halt the cleaning of the park.

10/1/11: 700 Arrested for March Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Seven hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic when they proceeded to block the roadway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

That's quite a few incidents for a movement that bills itself as peaceful. I've been to dozens of protests in and around Washington DC (see "Rallies and Protests" under "Categories" at right) and I never saw any arrests or violent behavior, and only in a few cases did I read about arrests in the newspaper afterward.

I'm not going to quote this story, but do see Charles Cooke's Occupy's Totalitarian Temptation to get an idea as to what the movement is all about. It's not pretty, and the author's conclusion that "as long as the Occupiers so widely and openly indulge the totalitarian temptation, and so long as they seek to impose from the outside their vision for utopia, Occupy Wall Street is destined to remain what it has always been: a group on the fringe" seems pretty much right. I'm not entirely ready to say that outright violence is integral to the movement, but it is certainly a much larger part of it than it's defenders would like to admit.

Posted by Tom at May 3, 2012 8:00 AM

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Comments

If a Tea Party activist was ticketed for jay walking it would be front page news. But not this stuff. Nope. That all gets hushed up and you NEVER, EVER hear any connection between Obama/Pelosi et. al. encouragement of this movement and the violence, vandalism and lawlessness.

Posted by: Mike's America at May 5, 2012 1:43 PM

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