‘Police reaction benefits protesters’

The police reaction in New York, where pepper spray and batons have been used against thousands of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters, brings a lot of attention to the issue and advances the protesters’ goals, believes writer and editor, Joshua Holland.

“Protesters that I interviewed here, at Occupy San Francisco, have mentioned that police over-response is actually good for their so-called public relations outreach,” Holland said. “These images of police pepper-spraying women right in their faces, or arresting hundreds of people on the Brooklyn Bridge, I think that inspired a lot more people to go down and actually join the movement.”

Joshua Holland said that there are a lot of different kinds of people protesting across the country, and some of them are very dedicated “hardcore activists,” who are seeing this as a very long term movement.

“The protesters I’ve talked to are not going anywhere soon,” he said. “And some of them are extremely poor and have no other prospects.”

"It does not matter if the police arrest me tonight, because I’ve got no other place to be,” some of the protesters told Holland.

­Bestselling writer Edward Murray believes that it would be very easy to dismiss the protest if it was only about “a bunch of young unemployed kids going out and saying ‘Money is bad! Corporations are bad!’”

“But this isn’t calling for dissolution of businesses,” he said. “This is calling for dissolving a bond between finances and our government.”

Murray says that the movement is about spreading the message of solidarity.

“This is something that people can fight for, this is something that people can affect,” he explained. “This is not just a lot of noise.” 

“What they are seeking is to get that message out and to get that message out to as many people as possible, so that typical Americans can take their angers and frustrations somewhere and not feel so alone,” he added.


­‘Americans demanding true democracy’

­Emma Ruby-Sachs, a director at the global campaigning organization Avaaz, believes that the movement is about government corruption, which is not going to end tomorrow, thus the protests are only going to grow, popping up in hundreds of places across the US.

“Corruption is not sustainable in a true democracy,” she said. “And Americans are out there on the streets, like the rest of the world has been for over a year, demanding true democracy.”

“We saw in India very recently a huge protest that basically brought the government to its knees and forced it to pass anti-corruption legislation that stopped in some ways the capture of that government by the corporate elites,” she added. “It is the same thing in the United States.”


­John Wellington Ennis, a filmmaker and contributor to the Huffington Post, believes that people have taken the only means left for them to express their discontent.

“When you go into protest and when you appear in public in support of a cause, you don’t know what ripples you are creating,” he said.

“I think the protesters are so united that it did not even need a common purpose to be stated,” he added. “There is such a common frustration, and there have been so many patient stages by the US people to wait for reform efforts.”


­No protection for independent journalists

­Journalist and Occupy Wall Street PR coordinator Katie Davison told RT that independent media have not been protected from police brutality while covering the events.

“I was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend with 700 other people as I was filming, and so were our live-stream crews,” she said. “I was also knocked down by a police officer on the frontlines in the Union Square protest. I think it raises a lot of interesting questions about what the role of independent journalism is.”

“It is a little frustrating that we are not afforded any of the protection that the mainstream media would be given,” she added. “Because ultimately we are there, documenting something that is happening.”