Media zeroed in on Occupy Oakland protesters and their clash with police. Such confrontations could bolster the Occupy movement, some say. But they may also be a sign the protests are winding down.
Do confrontations and clashes with police – such as those on the nightly news Tuesday that showed tear gas drifting across Oakland, Calif. – egg on the Occupy Wall Street movement or choke its momentum?
That's the question protesters and their sympathizers are asking themselves as cities put greater pressure on them to end or curtail or clean up their Occupy encampments. So far, the movement and its message of rage against economic inequality have won a measure of public support, according to polls. But there's little doubt that protesters are riding the tension between peaceful protest and civil disruption – and different Occupy encampments are making different decisions about what to do.
But even as the protest turned violent in Oakland, police in Atlanta broke up an Occupy protest with little ado early Wednesday. Several dozen demonstrators were carted away and charged with misdemeanors for violating city codes on camping in parks. In Little Rock, Ark., protesters on Tuesday agreed to move from a downtown park to a city-owned parking lot, to abide by a no-camping rule.
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But there's a risk to the "occupiers" of fading peacefully into the night, note those who study social movements and civil unrest, and perhaps an incentive to forcefully resist authorities.
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