Occupy and the militarisation of policing protest
November 3, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK’s leading newspapers)
Why, when protesters are peaceably exercising first amendment rights, is the machinery of counter-terrorism being mobilised? While riot police are not necessarily an everyday feature at any given protest, the sheer frequency with which we are witnessing their presence on city streets throughout the United States is enough to give average citizens cause for concern; the excessive force being routinely deployed is alarming. Within the first few days of Occupy Wall Street, protesters began to notice the presence of the NYPD’s Counter Terrorism Unit at Liberty Plaza. Reports of targeted arrests of informal “leaders” at Wall Street, Chicago and Boston indicate surveillance measures are operating [along with] extended and humiliating detentions of targeted occupy “leaders” … deprived of their phone call, food and water, and … mattresses were removed from cells. Director of education at the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU, [Nancy Murray] views the various signs of Department of Homeland Security involvement as important indicators that the federal government is orchestrating the policing of Occupy protests throughout the country. “This would be a big concern because it would show that the federal government is possibly playing an active role in opposing people’s rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble,” says Murray.
Note: For Prof. John McMurtry‘s important review of Andrew Kolin’s State Power and Democracy, which argues that the US is a police state designed over decades, even centuries, to protect the interests of the “1 percent”, click here. For key reports from reliable sources on major government assaults on civil liberties, click here.