Comic: Occupy Wall Street
Master class: crowd control
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially said Occupy Wall Street protesters would be welcome to stay in downtown Zuccotti Park indefinitely. But several days ago, under pressure from area business owners and residents, he ordered the activists cleared from the park, and their encampment removed.
Several hundred protesters were arrested during the operation, and though Mayor Mike didn't call in the tanks, several police officers were filmed using pepper spray on activists. [In fairness to the police, nearly every sizable demonstration contains a handful (or more) of people whose main interest is in sparking violent conflict. Yes, there are plenty of instances in which police have used excessive force, but equally, plenty of policemen have ended up in the hospital after demonstrations have gotten violent. When that happens, it's no fun to be on either side of the protest line.]
[Side note: a well-informed friend told me that former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong (later jailed on corruption charges), who was mayor during the June 4, 1989, crackdown on student democracy activists, said afterwards that if China had had water cannons, the June 4 massacre would probably never have happened.]
Roberto De Vido is a communications consultant, writer, cartoonist and jack of many trades. The former chief of Tucson Sentinel’s East Asia Bureau, he now lives in California (make of that what you will).