Another stunning development… The violence at Occupy Oakland city camp has spiraled out of control as homeless people, ex-convicts, at least one registered sex offender, students, unemployed hotel workers, anarchists and far left activists vie for power.
On Monday a newscaster “got his fancy suitcoat torn by the camper’s dog.” The angry newscaster called the police, angering the Occupy crowd. When the police arrived they were ejected by a chanting mob.
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.
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.