Monday, October 31, 2011

Mayor Dwight Jones suppresses Occupy Richmond protest

Last night at 1:00 am while I was asleep just a few blocks away, Mayor Dwight Jones had the Richmond Police Department raid the encampment of Occupy Richmond in Kanawha Plaza. Happily there was no violence or injuries reported. Police asked the protesters to leave and most did. A handful allowed themselves to be arrested as a gesture of civil disobedience.

It's hard to say what the long term effects of Occupy Richmond will be. Will they reorganize and find a way to continue their protest? Will they become politically active? Or will they simply walk away, more alienated from society than ever?

To me, Jones' action was a political blunder. The protesters were peaceful and orderly throughout their protest. They harmed no one and provided a safety valve, allowing disaffected people to vent their frustrations in a peaceful way. Carrying out the raid in the middle of the night and using bulldozers to destroy the campers' possessions was heavy-handed and extreme to say the very least. Richmond is a liberal city, and Jones may have unnecessarily offended a part of his base.

You can read about the raid at Occupy Richmond's website.

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