Tension had been building for days in the Occupy Oakland camp before it erupted into violence Monday and Tuesday. When it finally did, Don Hughes, a substitute teacher and full-time tent resident of the camp, found himself amid a full-blown melee.Read the rest. It gets worse. Still, don't expect any national media coverage of this. It would upset the "peaceful" narrative they're so desperate to peddle.
The next thing Hughes knew he was in a headlock, then he was being punched, and then he was on the ground as a large man began to choke him.
"This is a revolution, and we want it to be open to everybody," said Hughes early Wednesday morning, "but this guy crossed too many lines."
As dawn came Wednesday, the protest's 10th day, an almost overwhelming sense of urgency was developing around the need to resolve internal security issues that have bedeviled residents and passers-by alike. The tent city that has sprung up on the steps of Oakland City Hall has attracted a diverse range of people, many with competing ideologies and world views. Homeless people, ex-convicts, at least one registered sex offender, students, unemployed hotel workers, anarchists and reform-minded activists freely mingle together in what amounts to a democracy free-for-all.
Sometimes, everyone appears to be on the same page. But the skein of civility has been frequently shattered as bullies, the mentally ill, drunks, thugs and anarchists have threatened the safety and well-being of the camp's more peaceful residents. Occupy Oakland has grown out of demonstrations that began in a New York City park a month ago as a protest against what occupiers see as corporate greed.
Organizers have stressed the need for consensus in the camp's decision-making process. But as the demands for individual safety and security have grown, the movement's priorities have begun to bump up against people's concerns for their own well-being and that of their friends and, in some cases, their children.
One Oakland police officer, who asked to remain anonymous for reasons of police protocol, described the scene in tent city as akin to a scene from "Lord of the Flies." And, indeed, the on-the-fly rule-making can often veer into an oppressive, anarchic mood.
Journalists are routinely shooed away and told off by angry residents. One Oakland police supervisor said that the participants first appeared to him as "freethinking activists" but have since devolved into something more sinister. He said it was "interesting for a group that claims to be against current civilization and rules to set up a far more oppressive society than our own."