After a violent and ugly battle at Occupy Oakland this weekend, the Occupy D.C. protest is bracing for a fight today when a noon deadline to evacuate two Washington parks expires. On Friday, the National Park Service began informing campers in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza that they had until 12:00 p.m. on Monday to remove all camping supplies from those areas or face arrest. That has already led to some confrontations and arrests as protesters made it clear they had no intention of obeying the order.
In one example that's already inflamed the people in DC, a barefoot protester in his pajamas was shocked by a taser or stun gun after apparently tearing down fliers that were being distributed by the police.
The developments in Oakland appeared to re-energize the movement somewhat after several weeks of relative tranquility and dwindling winter support. After the nearly 400 arrests on Saturday, sympathetic marches sprung up in other cities, including New York were 12 people were arrested on Sunday. But it may have also have re-energized the opposition as well, particularly after incidents of vandalism and flag burning at Oakland's City Hall tested the patience of those who might otherwise appreciate the group's message, so long as the tactics don't become a nuisance.
As the Occupy Wall Street campaign enters its fifth month, many of the less passionate activists have moved on, leaving behind the die-hards that tend to be more militant — and increasingly frustrated. The confrontations between police and protesters appeared to growing less frequent (but possibly more violent), though that could all change if a showdown happens in the nation's capital today. An overly aggressive and violent police response, combined with Oakland's protesters swarming out of city jails today, some with severe injuries delivered by cops, could push the movement back into the limelight and win the return of many of its sympathizers.
However, if it's the protesters who are seen to be out of control, we may soon learn whether how much goodwill remains for the 99%.