Confronting disorderly protests

Confronting disorderly protests

November 16th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Several cities around the United States have finally started dealing with the disorderliness and the health and safety hazards created by some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters and their affiliates.

A handful of local protesters connected with the movement have fortunately not engaged in the kind of reckless behavior we have seen elsewhere, but it has become obvious that some cities needed to deal with disorderly demonstrations.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was finally forced to clear a private park where protesters had been camped out for months. The privately owned park had become filthy and hazardous, and its owners requested that the city enforce the ban on camping or sleeping there.

The mayor noted that the protesters had taken over the park, "making it unavailable to anyone else." They even erected barricades to keep the police at bay.

Nearly 200 people -- many chanting "Whose park? Our park!" -- were arrested as police moved in to clear the Manhattan park and restore order.

The scene was similar in Oakland, Calif. Dozens were arrested there, too, after refusing to leave a park. Scores were arrested a day earlier at a Portland, Ore., protest site. Sanitation concerns and illegal drug use were cited at the Portland location.

It is painfully clear that some of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street activists have no interest in orderly protests. And when they go so far as to violate the law, the authorities are well justified in taking action.