May Day protests: gas, brutality, and baseless arrest

Mike from Mother Jones sends us a link to the magazine's coverage of yesterday's May Day protests: "Mother Jones reporter was close at hand, and got disturbing photos and video of Oakland Police officers tackling a girl on a bike who didn't seem to be doing anything provocative. He then got a nice taste of OPD attitude: 'Fuck, I just got teargassed,' he tweeted. The video clips are about halfway down, but lots of good photos and bicoastal coverage, too."

"#$#! I Just Got Tear Gassed!" and Other MoJo Tales From Occupy May Day


  1. And then there is Seattle, or “#$#!. I just got my storefront smashed in!”

    1. Are there any reports of this happening? 

      Or is this just warmed-up leftover sentiment from the 1990’s?

      1. Boy are there ever reports of this happening!  Hundreds of reports, all over the news and the internet.  Of course, they’re all referring to one incident again and again.

        Picture this – widespread protests and disorder in cities all over the country all on the same day.  But in one city, an incident of mis-targeted vandalism happens – probably by accident – and it’s all the mainstream can talk about.

        Fact is, a fair amount of vandalism did happen on May Day, but it was focused tightly on banks, multinationals, and the rich. Other fact is, a huge amount of protest and economic disruption happened that did not involve vandalism at all.

        It’s almost as though the mainstream has already decided the story they want to believe about this movement, and are focusing obsessively and exclusively on the one incident which supports that story.

  2. Arrest will always be an ugly business.  Not showing or knowing any context but still shouting “police brutality” does the whole movement a disservice.  Middle america, the 99%, understand that people can and do get arrested sometimes.

      1. So anyone whose opinions differ from the post’s author, or who dares to suggest that maybe we’re not getting the whole story is immediately labelled a ‘Concern Troll’??


        1. Saying, “Arrest will always be an ugly business.” would actually make that a Lack of Concern Troll.

        2. Well, the fact that context *was* supplied suggests to me that neither you nor comeonforreal have read the original article. In fact, the “bad things happen but that’s no reason to complain” attitude is the very definition of a concern troll.

      2. I am pretty sure you don’t know what means.  You might disagree with his statement, but it isn’t a concern troll.  It isn’t even a troll.  It is just pointing out that showing arrests without context is, well, without context.  

        The most iconic and galvanizing police actions of the Occupy movement were not galvanizing because it shows police beating up people.  We expect police to use force.  That is what they are there for.  What made stuff like what happened at UC Davis was the context.  It clearly showed a bunch of peaceful protesters getting the shit kicked out of them for no discernible reason.

        So no, it isn’t a troll, much less a concern troll, to ask for context.  Curb stomping peaceful hippies is night and day different from running down and violently wrestling to the ground black masked assholes kicking in the window of a coffee shop.

        Edit: Though, if you do want to see an excellent example of a Concern Troll, BombBlastLightingWaltz’s post about how Occupy is hurting chipmunks and dog walker is an excellent example of a Concern Troll in its natural environment.

        1.  “Using force” is not the same as “beating people up”.  It includes beating people up, but in case you missed the memo, we are supposed to expect the police to use force without beating people up.

          That we often don’t even seriously hold that minimal expectation is a sign of problems.

          1. You are arguing with yourself.  Never in that post did I say “using force” == “beating people up”.  It is pretty obvious that “beating people up” is a subset of “using force”.  There is, on rare occasion, instances where the police are justified in “beating people up”.  I am okay if the police club a knife wielding maniac into submission.  I am not okay with them clubbing a hippie sitting in the park peacefully protesting.  If you think I am suggesting otherwise, you are mistaken.

  3. funny that the pictures of the professional instigators doing their usual smashing out windows and crap are missing. 

  4. Mystifying how radicals think destroying things earns them endearment.   

    Occupy not parks, where many animals seek refugee. Not to mention the pets of the immediate area that look forward to that romp in the grass. Where Occupiers invade park land, they displace many animal species, albeit natural survival or just getting out form the cell to the yard. These poor little critters are subjected to far worse then any financial disenfranchisement, they are robbed of their sacred areas to exist and co-habit. It is too bad these ‘socially aware anthropologists’ do not take into account their negative impact.

    Occupy city squares of public domain. Leave our public parks alone.

    At any rate, great for the photographers so close and in abundance. Press op? Ok here, your news ….

    1. Occupy city squares of public domain. Leave our public parks alone.

      How many city squares are there that aren’t parks? And what are the chances of the cops moving in to throw them out in less than five minutes?

    2. It is people like you that I fail to understand. Human beings are being miss treated to the point of them leaving their homes to come out to a public place to scream injustice, and your only concern is a *&%$ing cockroach?? 

      Sure, the environment is completely devastated, but your own kind are being abused by blood thirsty, animals posing as humans who rape people all over the world of their lives. This is an act to show people like you who are comfortable on their couches behind a computer screen to look the &*%$ outside and see that while you were blogging, people changed the world. So, continue blogging, because you are no use to anyone.

  5. Well, when you allow a police state to exist, well you get it bad.
    Working on that goose steppin an arm flingin!
    I want to be with the in crowd!

  6. part of the destructive crowd?
    How do you know that you haven’t been infiltrated by police and are acting out their provocatory measures? Providing the excuse for brutal retaliation.
    What other interests could you have possibly been convinced you are serving? Other than generating (bad) press.
    You are puppets. Violent and throttled.

  7. There’s an interesting thread on Reddit, supposedly posted by a cop who worked an Occupy protest:

    They suggest some things that are probably pretty common, but one of them is to have a unified message, and the other is to dress nice.  It’s hard to label someone as “poo-flinging Marxists” if they have a message that the criminals of the 2008 crash should be punished, and they’re all dressed nice.

    Showing up looking like that might help separate them from the anarchists, provocateurs, and so on.

      1.  I doubt it. Torontonians got kettled and assaulted while doing their shopping just for being in the general area of the protest marches.

    1. Except that the anarchists have been organizing most of these protests, and many other protests, for years, and the anarchists point out the infiltrators/provocateurs. A lot of people you might never recognize as anarchists are anarchists.

      And I’ve been at peaceful protests, which the cops attacked, where I was injured and the medics were attacked coming to my aid. My glasses were stomped and my clothes were torn up. I can’t afford nice clothes, and I definitely can’t afford to replace nice clothes every time the cops attack.

  8. Oakland has a history which provides much of the context. But the point stands: you need to show the citizen peacefully protesting before you show what the police do. It’s good journalism and good propaganda, ie. no debate is necessary.

    There is ample footage from earlier in the year that shows completely peaceful protesters protesting for days before being assaulted by a paramilitary force – in similar fashion to the UC Davis protesters. Beyond this there is the discourse about WHY the police assault occupy protesters. Tea party protesters were never treated in this fashion. (Maybe because they were carrying assault rifles.) What is it about Occupy protesters that marks them ‘enemies of the state’ and treated accordingly?

    That’s a lot of context.

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