There have been shocking scenes of repression (or attempted repression) ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in NYC, back in the days, merely a few weeks ago, when only a very few protesters were involved. These scenes included young women being pepper-sprayed in the face and climaxed in the now-notorious "Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge" in which some 700 protesters were lured by the NYPD onto the vehicular deck of the bridge and then arrested en masse, and included scenes a short time later in which hundreds more protesters were brutalized by the NYPD as they attempted to reach Wall Street itself. It was these scenes, more than anything else, which probably led to Occupy movements springing up in sympathy all across the country, so that today some 1,500 American cities and towns are "occupied."
There have also been other repressions, some more dramatic than others, including those which took place (and in some cases are still taking place) in Cincinnati, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and St. Louis, just to name a few. To their eternal credit, the Albany Police Department flatly refused the orders of the Mayor of Albany and the Governor of New York to evict the Occupy protesters in that city, but thus far they are the exception, not the norm. Of course, all sorts of supposed "justifications" have been advanced for these repressions, with civic authorities often citing municipal ordinances regarding "camping" in city parks or the use of city parks outside certain hours of the day, although the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in no way limits the exercise of free speech.
Last night, however, the repressions assumed a ferocity heretofore unseen in this country. Occupy Atlanta protesters were forcibly ejected from their site, with many being arrested as is attested in this video:
And of all the attempted repressions which took place, the most ferocity was shown in Oakland, California, by members of the Oakland Police Department, as shown in these videos:
Just yesterday, The New York Times published a poll which showed that some 46% of Americans agree to at least some degree with the Occupy protests: "New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government".
The question at hand therefore becomes what if anything are Americans thus far not involved in the protests in any way going to do about all of this? Will scenes like those above motivate them to join protests taking place in their cities and towns? Or to form new Occupy protests where none now exist? Or will they simply purchase another six-pack and kick back to be "entertained" by yet another brain-numbing "reality television" program?
Another question worth considering is what if anything will the U.S. military do? Not the brasshats in the Pentagon, of course. They are a part of the problem, shamelessly pandering to whatever corrupt administration happens to be in power in Washington at any given time, for no better reason than the wish of the "Commander-in-Chief" du jour to prove he has a bigger set of stones than his predecessor in office. But what about the brave young men and women who are actually fighting and (in all too many cases) dying overseas, who have been told for over a decade now that they have been and are making incredible sacrifices to protect "freedom" back home?
Clearly, the powers-that-be in the United States are now feeling threatened by non-violent protesters who, only a few weeks ago, were mostly being written off as "lazy hippies." What will happen next is anyone's guess.