Xavier Manalo, a 25-year-old tennis instructor holding the forward-most protest banner, admitted there were "rogue elements" in the group but insisted the "pressure of the peaceful will be the deterrent" to the violence. Manalo was wrong. I saw groups of protestors arguing, not only with the police—who were the constant subject of heckling and catcalls—but with each other. There were calls to retaliate by throwing things like eggs back over the barricade, just as a big group of around 40 people started to chant, "Don't Throw Shit! Don't Throw Shit!" No one appeared in control and the group was divided into two groups: the largely peaceful, and a small, visible, determined group of agitators. At the height of this melee, I saw two men throw bottles at the police. People screamed and scrambled for air ahead of the inevitable: a half-dozen canisters of tear gas—some crackling and echoing off the Rite Aid building. A brief lull, then this scene repeated. The group came back together—around 800—with protesters calling to those who were still cowering behind bus shelters or cleaning their eyes to "not be afraid," to "not run away." And so it began again: talks, disagreements about engagement, improvised debates about the meaning of nonviolence, and a swirling sense of anticipation. The breaker: Another bottle was hurled from the crowd and tear gas canisters were lobbed back. Accord between the protestors had not been reached.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Those Non-Violent Protestors in Oakland
Even Mother Jones, no right-wing megaphone, admitted the Oakland protestors were out of hand:
Posted by Pat at 9:48 PM