Earlier this month downtown Oakland resembled a Third World country in the midst of armed rebellion as police in riot gear attacked protesters with Occupy Oakland. This time around the scene was less chaotic as police carried out the wishes of Mayor Jean Quan.
Police descended upon Frank Ogawa Plaza at 5:00 a.m. and two hours later the park was cleared of protesters.
Mayors who tried to portray themselves as supporters of the protests against the corporate takeover of the US government have shown their true colors as they carry out the wishes of their corporate masters. In Portland, Oregon, Mayor Sam Adams ordered police to clear two parks over the weekend.
Police were also called out to clear out campsites in both Salt Lake City and Denver.
It's probably a safe bet that local politicians didn't expect the Occupy! movement to have any legs. They figured that a few college kids and hippies would camp out for a couple of days and then go back home. They weren't counting on protesters camping out for a month or longer.
Those in power know all too well that the longer folks see protesters camping out in cities across the country, the more ordinary people will gravitate to the protests. The longer the campsites are allowed to exist near political and financial centers across the country, the more folks will be reminded of just where the true axis of power in this country lies.
The thought process is that once the protests are out of sight, the message will be out of the minds of the populace. That may, ultimately, be true. However, what began as a protest in New York City about the influence of Wall Street in political and economic policy, has grown into a movement that stretches across this nation.
A sea change may very well be underway as young people are seeing the effects that our economic policy has had on their generation. Unemployment is higher than it's been in a very long time. Economic growth has slowed to a trickle. Jobs are being eliminated at home and exported abroad. The cost of getting a college education has increased at a rate far exceeding inflation. Homes are being foreclosed on at rates not seen since the Great Depression. And while Rome burns, the corporate bosses are rolling in cash.
At some point Mayor Annise Parker is going to turn on the protesters camped out across the street from City Hall. At some point she will send in the police with orders to clear the park. She used the movement as long as it served her purpose of getting re-elected. Now the the election in the background, the time is coming for the crackdown in Houston.
You see, Mayor Parker knows that there are more people in Houston that sympathize with the protesters than support corporate greed, but she also knows that there is far more money to be raised by from corporate coffers downtown.
It's just a matter of time.
Overnight police in New York cleared Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park. Police arrived at the encampment at about 1am and ordered protesters to take their belongings and leave the park. Reports indicate that over 70 protesters were arrested in the raid.
Reporters were not allowed in the park as police allegedly used pepper spray and excessive force to remove protesters.