If you thought the Occupy movement was dead and buried, you may be disappointed. It seems the movement is recollecting for what may be another string of boisterous protests. On Saturday night, chaos erupted in Oakland, California, after Occupiers threw rocks and flares at police officers. In response, authorities used tear gas and, hours later, hundreds of protesters were arrested.
On Monday evening, the drama spread to New York City, among other localities, where 12 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were arrested after they held a march in solidarity with their Oakland compatriots.
The march, which started at Washington Square Park and ended at Tompkins Square Park, took on some unusual elements. Masked protesters apparently took a prominent role at the event. Additionally, there was a divide that separated the majority of Occupiers from a small subset that seemed willing to engage in violence. Both in Oakland and New York, some Occupiers took to hurling items at police officers.
In New York, these instances were limited, but troubling nonetheless. The Village Voice reports on the spectacle's change in tone:
In some ways, the action was a lot like many Occupy Wall Street marches that have come before -- chanting, weaving through neighborhoods, occasionally sprinting to outflank the police, finally petering out.
But there were some new elements too: More of the protesters wore black and masked their faces, a protest tactic called Black Bloc that makes it harder for police to pick individuals out of the crowd. Snapple-bottles and soda cans were thrown at police. And a well-known video journalist was assaulted by a masked marcher.
Tim Pool, a journalist covering Occupy (a self-described sympathizer who does not necessarily identify with the movement), was attacked last night during the protest. His arm was "chopped" and his camera was knocked out of his hand. While he was not badly injured, this incident illustrates the intensified nature of the protest (see the attack around 17:00 -- caution: language):
Gothamist reports reiterates that several protesters threw glass bottles and other items in the direction of NYPD officers last night:
On 9th Street between Avenues B and C, protesters gathered in front of the vacant P.S. 64 building, banging on the plywood around the structure. A masked protester standing next to us tossed a bottle that landed in the street and immediately ducked down into the dense crowd. "This guy! This guy threw it!" a man named Charlie screamed at the police. As officers made their way into the crowd, the masked man escaped and they detained Charlie instead. His companion was dumbstruck. "They just arrested my friend. He would never do any of that shit."
On 14th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, a man in the crowd tossed a bottle near a line of uniformed police officers, and was met quickly by several who wrestled him into handcuffs. Thrusting protesters away from the arrest, NYPD officers knocked over several people in the crowd and a heated confrontation erupted.
And these are only two of the examples presented. Below, watch the scene after police reach the man in the latter scenario. The video exposes a chaotic situation, with police reacting and protesters engaging in their familiar chanting (caution: strong language):
Here's another video that showcases a shoving match between police and protesters after yet another man is detained:
Some protesters proposed that the bottle-throwers were undercover NYPD officers who had infiltrated the movement in an attempt to co-opt it. Others seemed dismayed that the violent tactics were used at all.
These events come as the Occupy movement appears to be getting its second wind. CNN recaps some of the other arrests and incidents that took place in various localities following the dramatic Oakland protests over the weekend:
In Tampa, Florida, several protesters were arrested for blocking traffic, CNN affiliate Bay News 9 reported.
In Philadelphia, police reported several hundred protesters blocked traffic near City Hall and attempted to cut down a fence near an area park where Occupy protesters were recently evicted from camping out. Two protesters were arrested, according to CNN affiliate WPVI.
Overseas, Occupy protests were held outside U.S. consulates in Melbourne and Toronto, while statements of solidarity were issued by Occupy groups in Olso, Norway, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to Twitter and website posts late Sunday.
This resurgence isn't happening by chance, either. The Oakland events were the catalyst that spawned this international response, as the official Occupy Wall Street web site has been promoting the protesters' planned reaction to the "extreme police violence" that happened over the weekend. Here's more:
...actions are currently happening or planned in response to extreme police violence used against Occupy Oakland yesterday in New York City, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Melbourne, Oslo, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, Tampa, Indianapolis, New Haven, Orlando, Jackson, Des Moines, Hollywood, Baltimore, Portland ME, Tulsa, Denver, St. Louis, Eugene, Nashville, and Detroit. We have also received word that the Bank of Ideas in London is being raided!
Washington, D.C. may be the next location where police clash with protesters, as Occupiers have refused to comply with new rules that would require them to vacate their encampment.