Editorial: Occupy movement needs good behavior from all

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Ricky Rios of Oakland, Calif., lies on the street with a sign supporting injured Oakland protester Scott Olsen during a rally on Wednesday in Los Angeles. The city became a rallying point last week when Olsen, an Iraq War veteran, was injured in clashes with police.
Associated Press

With protesters popping up throughout the country and several parts of the world, the Occupy movement has made an impact. Although police reactions would beg to differ, it’s not something that should be taken too seriously.

At the beginning of last month, protesters claiming to be the 99 percent showed signs of being an impactful and influential movement. Many directly compared them to the tea party movement and how it grew into a leading, significant group. As time has passed, these anti-Wall Street protesters have lost credibility.

Protesters have decided to “occupy” areas of the country where voicing their opinions about being the 99 percent are irrelevant and useless to their cause. As protesters flood the streets in cities across the nation, their sit-ins have caused police to act aggressively because the protesters do not cooperate with the rules set forth.

An Oct. 30 Reuters article explained what the police have to do when protesters “occupy” cities.

“At Occupy Austin, some 38 people were arrested on Saturday night and early Sunday after refusing to let police take down food tables and clean the City Hall Plaza where they had camped for several weeks,” police said to Reuters. “They were charged with criminal trespass and issued citations that mean they can’t return to the protest site.”

Police action would not have to be as intense if protesters complied with the rules to have peaceful gatherings; protesters instead have chosen to violate these rules.

“Makeshift encampments sprouting up in cities nationwide have forced local officials to tread carefully between allowing peaceful assembly and addressing concerns about trespassing, noise, sanitation and safety,” Reuters reported.

By blatantly violating the rules established for peaceable gatherings for the occupy movement, the protesters have diminished any respect and seriousness for their outcries against the 1 percent.

If the protesters want attention and want others to consider and evaluate what they are saying, a more reasonable and sensible approach must be taken.

An Oct. 30 Associated Press article said protesters in Portland, Ore., have caused the city council to completely oppose the protesters’ actions.

“Saturday afternoon, dozens of protesters marched through downtown, across the Willamette River and back, some of them carrying sleeping bags, saying they planned to camp out in the Pearl District park,” the article said. “But Mayor Sam Adams said last week he would not allow the demonstrators to take over any more parks.”

The city council in Portland voiced their opinions to these actions through Commissioner Randy Leonard when he said, “We — the entire city council — are your friends… at present. However, our friendship and support are now being unreasonably tested by the decision to occupy Jamison Square.”

Police reaction to protestors, though, can and has been taken too far.

Last Tuesday police officers in Oakland, Calif., used tear gas and riot gear to stop the Occupy Oakland protesters, causing many people across the country to become extremely upset at their actions.

Yes, the protesters may raise concern for being radical and a harm to the city they decide to occupy, but this doesn’t mean the police need to react in such a dangerous manner.

If the 99 percent wants America to listen to it and take its message seriously, it needs to comply with the rules and regulations, and it needs to stick to a protest method that doesn’t raise the concerns of police officials. However, police reactions ought to be toned down and should not harm the protesters if the protesters haven’t physically harmed anyone in their demonstrations.