What began as a small demonstration in Lower Manhattan has escalated into a nation-wide progressive movement, the likes of which have not been seen since the 60s. While demonstrators are raising collective awareness and even receiving scant positive media coverage, some things about protests never change: the looming specter of Police Brutality. Most recently, Occupy Boston saw their local boys in blue tear down encampments, and forcibly detain anyone within the area of Dewey Square Park, including legal observers and medics whom were clearly marked with red crosses. Attendees were thrown down on their stomachs, cuffed, and dragged off the land, with a final count of 100 being arrested. Two weeks ago, an NYPD officer named Anthony Bologna was caught on video pepper-spraying two females simply observing the festivities at Occupy Wall Street, and has yet to receive reprimand from the NYPD in any fashion (although now that a second video has leaked they are reportedly “looking into it”.
Its enough to enrage many Americans who see these actions as chipping away at our constitutional right to peaceful assembly, and there is a marked difference between how these protesters are being treated and the right-wing Tea Party demonstrators just two years prior. After all, the only resistance has been peaceful, and most of the protests have been orchestrated within the bounds of law, receiving permits to do so. Looking back over history, protests that caused social upheaval, such as those against the War in Vietnam or in support of the Civil Rights movement, have often ended in violence. Police responded to those events with force much more explicit than what is being seen now, but that is all the more reason to remain vigilant. Perhaps the silver lining of these incidents is that the media has finally taken notice, and have escalated their coverage considerably. This will only serve to make future incidents of brutality more public, and raise cultural awareness about the goals of the movement.
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