18 November 2011 — ‘Civil disobedience is the only way to go’ — RT
Violent arrests have taken place in New York during a huge anti-Wall Street rally. RT correspondents as well as independent commentators bring the latest from the scene.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has marked its two month anniversary with coast to coast protests. Activists flooded US cities in what they called ‘A Day of Action’, all this as part of the protest against economic inequality.
In New York, the heart of the movement, tens of thousands of activists marched across the city, literally occupying streets.
All that was accompanied by brutal crackdowns and violent arrests, with almost 300 arrests being made in New York alone.
RT’s Marina Portnaya, reporting from New York, has said that an eyewitness told RT the police attacked one of the activists – whether the police were or were not provoked is not clear. According to the witness, five or more police officers jumped on a young activist and started to beat him.
Independent journalist Abby Martin, talking to RT from Oakland, does not agree that the police’s general approach has been helping to restore public order. Though she admits the rallies could cause some anger of the public, the response and support for the movement is stronger than annoyance by inconveniences.
‘Civil disobedience is the only way to go. People are waking up to the fact that the police are now militarized, and these absurd methods of crowd control – tear gas into thousands of people if one person throws a bottle – [take place]. All this could potentially cause some anger as people are trying to get to work, but overall I think it’s a great response we are not going to take it anymore and we are not going to step back. If the cops kick us out of Zuccotti Park and outside downtown Oakland, we are going to reconvene and show up stronger’.
Martin also draws attention to the fact that, as she says, banks are actually costing the city more money than the OWS protests.
‘If you look at the amount it has cost the broke city of Oakland for this heavy-headed police response, upward to US$ 500 000 for the latest raid. What’s costing the city so much? Banks were exempt US$7 million from taxes just last year.’
And Jeannie Dean, an activist from Occupy Los Angeles, notes that the police response in fact varies from city to city.
‘Here in Los Angeles we have been remarkably supported by our city police department – they have been very peaceful. We had a march today [involving] hundreds of people, and we only had one arrest. The LAPD handled themselves much differently than the New York police today.’
The Occupy movement has been going on for two months now, and that is, as some argue, with no tangible result. However, Jeannie Dean believes there are a number of things the activists have achieved.
‘Nationally we have managed to change the narrative, especially in the mainstream and corporate media in the US. If it were not for news organizations like Russia Today, many of us here would not be getting the information economic situation on our economic situation and foreign policy. We have already changed the narrative from deficit spending to jobs and to the economic disparities and the social injustice as we are seeing through our banking system, and the hijacking and corruption inherent in our banking and political system.’