Occupy Miami's Protests Remain Peaceful While Other Movements Taste Pepper Spray

Categories: Occupy Miami
bikecopom.JPG
photo by Liz Tracy
Police and protesters have been on the same page in Miami so far.
​In Oakland last week, police at an Occupy protest shot a military vet in the head with a rubber bullet, landing him in critical condition; other video showed officers lobbing dangerous flash bombs into peaceful crowds. In Portland, Maine, a homemade bomb went flying into the demonstration. Police from coast to coast, in fact, have violently cracked down on the anti-Wall Street protests, arresting hundreds.

Yet here in the Magic City -- a place that drew the world's attention just eight years ago with a staggeringly violent protest crackdown -- Occupy Miami has been 100 percent copacetic. What gives?

The answer from protesters and police is the same -- for now, they're all on the same page.

"The Miami-Dade police and the protesters are enjoying a peaceful protest, a vital part of our democratic society," MDPD spokeswoman Maj. Nancy Perez says in a statement.

Muhammed Malik, a community organizer, says protesters have gotten support from many cops who agree with the sentiment.

"Thus far, I believe the police have backed off, not really engaged us, tried to crack down on us," Malik says. "I think, also a lot of the police are facing cutbacks. I know a lot of them see themselves as the 99%."

Perez says that as long as the protests remain peaceful, the cops have no reason to intervene. (By the way, since Occupy chose the Stephen P. Clark Government Center -- home of County Hall -- to camp out, their squatting site is in the county cops' jurisdiction, not the Miami PD.)

"We will only impose conditions on the demonstrators if necessary to prevent ... damage to property. Thus far that hasn't been the case," Perez says. "At this point, there have been no discussion on moving or clearing demonstrators."

Occupy Miami was established about a month ago and is halfway through its third week of the fully committed camping out at the Government Center.

A peaceful Miami has been the exception in the Occupy movements. Folks have been arrested in Portland, Oregon, Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, and elsewhere. Many were given curfews that ended up neglected or were evicted from their campsites and refused to leave.

Here are some of the more horrific offenses against protesters elsewhere:

New York: Occupy Wall Street had met with some clashes, but the most confusing incident took place on October 1 on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was reported that New York's finest lured, even encouraged, protesters to march on the bridge, then arrested around 700 of them.

Boston: This was one of the first well discussed Occupy/authority incidents. On October 11, cops arrested 100 peaceful protesters around the Rose Kennedy Greenway, ripped down their tents, and threw away their belongings. There were, apparently, some expensive shrubs in the area that needed to be protected from damage.

Oakland: On the night of October 25, shit got real in Oakland. Police were ordered by Mayor Quan to "empty out encampments" at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Thus tear gas and flash grenades rained down upon the people. The most covered incident involved the cracked skull of Iraqi war vet Scott Olsen. According to the HuffPo, "After demonstrators rush to Olsen's aid, an Oakland cop waits a few beats before lobbing a second explosive device at the crowd."

Of the cops here in Miami, an occupier named Frank who declined to give his last name said, "generally they're friendly." Word is they even brought protesters pizza; Frank confirms that they've sponsored some meals for the dedicated campers.

Malik adds that police can see a wide base of support for Occupy: "The police are really seeing how many community groups from different backgrounds are coming out, and that kind of power, I think is holding the police back at bay."

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12 comments
Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Bunch of ninnies.  No one will pay attention to Miami unless they do crazy shit like the Oakland protesters are doing.  Occupy the port!

Kevin0045
Kevin0045

Miami's Occupy Wall Street is just embarrassing. I'm from Miami and I can say that because most of those fuckers aren't even really citizens. What a joke. 

nanook5
nanook5

the difference between here and oakland is that when the police execute people (oscar grant), the community rises up to oppose the police state. when the police execute people here (miami beach week & many more), we sigh, roll over, or change the station, and then we refer to the police state as "friendly" in hopes they won't do it again.

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

I forgot to add, I just want them to do this so they can get pepper sprayed and tear gassed.  Makes for good Youtube videos.

nanook5
nanook5

that's a lie, i've actually spoken to illegal immigrants that wish to be a part of this group but are too afraid because of scum like you. we'll campaign for their equal rights regardless.

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Miami Beach Week?  You mean Urban Weekend or whatever the hell its called?  That weekend in May when crime on the beach skyrockets due to miscreants who come down to visit and can't behave?  Just checking.

just_sayin'
just_sayin'

it is, in my opinion, completely and utterly naive to trust the police in any way/shape/form. they are being "friendly" because they so far haven't been given an excuse (however pathetic) to beat the living crap out of anyone in miami. as soon as they have that excuse, watch out for billy clubs, rubber bullets, pepper spray, flash grenades, unlawful destruction of personal property, you name it. cross my heart and hope to die.

off duty, many of the members of the MDPD (and/or any other PD) are most definitely part of the 99%, however, wearing that uniform.... government and big business have become so co-dependent that we can hardly even tell one from the other, and police are the watch dogs of government (i.e. those who enforce the peace, as defined by the current regime). if gov't is pretty much the same thing as big business then the transitive property certainly casts a lot of doubt on this whole idea that police officers are just regular folks like you and me in the good ole 99%.

roger tucker
roger tucker

since you used the word illegal, i assume they ain,t got papers. truth is they have no rights while in the act of commiting a crime. and as americans are starving  the seriosness of their crime is multiplied

nanook5
nanook5

yes, the one where about a dozen cops opened fire on a crowded street in order to execute one unarmed drunk, wounding several innocent bystanders and even other cops, and then stole people's phones at gunpoint and smashed them to try to cover it up. so yes the worst crimes of the weekend were indeed caused by miscreants, ones with badges.

Aaron Aarons
Aaron Aarons

The 'United States of America' is an ongoing criminal enterprise founded, originally as a collection of colonies, by violent illegal migrants from Europe almost 500 years ago. The heirs of those invaders have no business telling anybody, especially the real Americans whose ancestors have been here on this continent for over 10,000 years, that their right to be here is contingent on being licensed (via citizenship, a visa, a 'green card', or anything else) by that settler-colonial state.

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Yea that one.  Put an end to that nonsensical "event" and things will be fantastic again.

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