Even in protests, violence is never the answer
Regardless of your stance on the Occupy Wall Street movement, the events that occurred on Tuesday in the streets of Oakland, Calif., are a red flag for the direction that the movement is going.
After 97 protesters were arrested for setting up illegal campsites and the remaining groups removed from the grounds on Tuesday morning, several hundred people made their way back to the area later in the evening. It was in their march from a downtown library to City Hall that they were met with police in riot gear that things got out of control.
Rising tension between the opposing forces came to a head when something was thrown at the officers, who then fired tear gas in the area — not once, but five times — according to the Huffington Post.
It has also been reported that police officers allegedly used flash bang canisters, allegations which they’ve denied adamantly.
It’s appalling that the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown to the point where doing harm to protesters is deemed necessary.
Events like these will only add fuel to the fire — because Oakland was the first instance of tear gas use in the Occupy movement, the protesters have seemingly gained recognition as martyrs, which will further inflate the outrage of the people involved.
As per the Geneva Protocol, the use of bio-chemical weapons is illegal during war, but we’re still able to employ this kind of weaponry in instances of riot.
However, the problem is not the use of tear gas.
The problem is that what started as the fight against Wall Street fat cats has evolved into something so much more than it needed to be.
These protests should have never grown to the point where people are so enraged that violence is an acceptable solution.
This might be a sign that all Americans need to reconsider their actions in this movement — and who and what it is exactly that we’re fighting for.