Posted 9 months ago on July 24, 2012, 3:48 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
In June, U.N. envoys called on the U.S. government to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. However, the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to demand redress of grievances by the government continue to be met instead with police violence and efforts to intimidate and deter protesters. From Seattle to Los Angeles to Minneapolis to New York, police are increasing their aggression towards peaceful Occupy protesters by their presence in large numbers dressed in riot gear, the use of weapons such as rubber bullets and pepper spray and escalating charges against those who are arrested.
- On the morning of July 10, a SWAT police team in Seattle, WA, raided an apartment where organizers of the Occupy Movement were staying. The organizers were working on the “Everything 4 Everyone Festival.” There were no arrests but the apartment was ransacked.
- In Los Angeles, police are escalating their attack on Occupiers and others who are using chalk messaging to increase awareness about a dispute between a development corporation and small businesses, people of color and homeless people who are being forced out of the area near Skid Row in downtown. There have been more than a dozen arrests, outrageous bails set and aggression, including rubber bullets and bean bags that have caused serious injuries to peaceful protesters. In Anaheim, police opened fire with rubber bullets on a crowd and turned an attack dog loose on a woman holding a baby.
- Occupy Our Homes protesters in Minneapolis are now being charged with serious crimes in an effort to prevent more protesters from defending people being forced out of their homes.
- Recently in New York, Occupiers who walked 99 miles from the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia to New York City as part of the Guitarmy March were greeted with police aggression. [See below]
These recent events come on the heels of possible high profile entrapments of Occupiers in alleged incidents in Chicago and Cleveland. All of this seems to be a co-ordinated law enforcement clampdown against Occupy.
Tarak Kauff, a U.S. Army veteran, a member of Veterans For Peace and one of the founders of the Veterans Peace Team, says, “We are now and always have been a country led by wealthy politicians and business interests addicted to war and violence as a source of wealth and power. They instigated and waged war on indigenous peoples living relatively peacefully on this continent and the wars have continued unabated from there. Violence now permeates practically every aspect of our culture but we are seeing it manifested most by those who carry weapons and badges, those very people and institutions we depend upon to 'keep the peace.'"
Veterans For Peace and the Veterans Peace Team call on law enforcement officers to use restraint, common sense and negotiation when encountering peaceful protesters and to cease using violence upon them. We recognize that individual law enforcement personnel are working people, and we urge them not to protect the vested corporate interests exploiting people and poisoning the planet, but to honor their commitment to serve and protect the people.
The Veterans Peace Team (VPT) was created earlier this year "to nonviolently confront, document, and thereby expose the inherent or actual violence of those institutions that would use violence to impose their will on others." The Veterans Peace Team is a national project of Veterans For Peace in response to increasing police and other law enforcement crackdowns on peaceful Occupy encampments and marches.
Video: The Occupy Guitarmy 99 Mile March peacefully returns to Wall Street from the National Gathering in Philadelphia and is attacked by the NYPD. Trigger warning!