The headline on the MSNBC.com page reads: ‘Occupy’ protesters dig in against police, eviction notices — Denver officers break up camp; Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland order evictions. I fear an approaching storm, one similar to that faced by the Bonus Army in the summer of 1932.
The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I’s American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.
Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945. Each service certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier’s promised payment plus compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.
Army Chief of Staff and Major General Douglas MacArthur watched a brigade of steel-helmeted soldiers precisely align themselves in a straight four-column phalanx, bayonets affixed to rifles. He nodded his head in satisfaction. Discipline was wonderful. Up ahead, Major George Patton kicked his heels against his mount, and the big horse reared forward to signal a line of cavalry. The riders drew their sabers, and the animals stepped out in unison, hoofs smacking loudly on the street. Five Renault tanks lurched behind. Seven-ton relics from World War I and presumably just for show, the old machines nonetheless left little doubt as to the seriousness of the moment. On cue, at about 4:30 p.m. on July 28, 1932, the infantry began a slow, steady march forward. Completing the surreal atmosphere, a machine gun unit unlimbered, and its crew busily set up.
This was no parade, although hundreds of curious office workers had interrupted their daily routines to crowd the sidewalk or hang out of windows along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol to see what would happen. Up ahead, a group of weary civilians, many dressed in rags and ill-fitting, faded uniforms, waited in anticipation amid their sorry camp of tents and structures made from clapboard and sheets of tin covered in tar paper. Some loitered in the street. They had heard something was afoot — expected it after what happened earlier. Now, a murmur rose from the camp crowd. Upon seeing the Army’s menacing approach, they were momentarily stunned, disbelieving.
Recovering their senses, a few of the men cursed and sent bottles and bricks flying toward the troops — ineffective weapons against so formidable a force. The missiles shattered on impact on the hard pavement or bounced off the flanks of horses and soldiers. Undaunted, the roughly 600 troops maintained their discipline with tight-lipped determination. The extra training MacArthur had recently ordered was paying off
With that context here are excerpts from the MSNBC report:
Tensions were rising at anti-Wall Street protests in three western cities on Friday as demonstrators in Denver, Portland, Salt Lake City and Oakland defied orders by police to dismantle their camps.
In Denver, police broke up an encampment at Civic Center park early Saturday evening.
Livestream video by protesters showed police firing tear gas and then picking up protesters’ belongings that hadn’t already been removed after demonstrators were ordered to remove personal property including tents and grills.
About 100 protesters moved toward the 16th Street Mall while chanting “Whose streets, our streets.”
Reinforcements in Portland?
In Portland, police said they had received reports that protesters were digging a reinforced hole and fashioning makeshift weapons out of wood and nails after Mayor Sam Adams gave them until midnight on Saturday to clear out of two downtown parks.
Salt Lake City ban
In Salt Lake City, protest organizers vowed to resist an order by police chief Chris Burbank to clear out of Pioneer Park in downtown by 30 minutes after sundown Saturday.
Oakland issues eviction notices
In Oakland, where police and protesters have clashed several times over the past few weeks, organizers said they intended to stay in Frank Ogawa Plaza near city hall despite increasing pressure by authorities.
On Friday night, police handed out fliers at the Occupy Oakland encampment putting demonstrators on notice that they were violating the law by camping and having open fires.
The city issued another eviction notice on Saturday morning. It warns protesters that they do not have the right to camp in the plaza overnight and face immediate arrest and the removal of their tents, stoves, sleeping bags and other belongings.
Read the complete article from MSNBC.com here.
The Occupy Protests are gaining momentum, not loosing it. The demonstrations have popped up in major cities and smaller cities across the nation. Just as the protests in Tahrir Square early this year, and the Bonus Army protests in 1932, people gathered to express their grievances with their government. Like then, in an effort to demonstrate their collective resolve, many refused to leave the front lines of their protests. They camped, they erected shelters to protect themselves from the elements. and like then, they have been ordered to leave and refused.
I feel an approaching storm of rebellion, maybe even revolution, as the authorities across the nation attempt to thwart the collective will of the people. To the authorities I say, let them be. These demonstrations are peaceful. The only time violence occurs is when the authorities try to break them up.
As we saw with the Arab Spring, and the Bonus Army in 1932, you may win the battle, but you will not win the war.
In Orange County we have the Occupy demonstrations in Santa Ana and Irvine. In Irvine the city has granted permission for the demonstrators to camp out. In Santa Ana, that permission has not been granted. My suggestion to the Occupy Patriots of Orange County is to respect the laws which you face. Don’t confront or provoke a conflict with the police. You are more effective by showing solidarity with the much larger protests around the country in a peaceful and law-abiding way.