The corporate media have been describing police during the last few days of anti-war protests (which started on Thursday, March 20) as showing "restraint" in their behavior toward individuals. I've heard otherwise well-meaning and intelligent-seeming liberal-type people repeating this lie as well, including during the PPRC rally yesterday, when the police were actually *thanked* for how they've been doing.
This is absolute bullshit.
People are so brainwashed by the corporate media that they've lost all perspective on what rational human behavior is. The only way to characterize the police as showing "restraint" is if you're going to give them credit for not actually killing anybody (yet).
I have not witnessed a single act in the last 5 days that warrants anyone being peppersprayed, beaten, shot with rubber bullets, thrown to the ground, or subjected to pain compliance. I have, however, witnessed more of all-of-the-above than i could easily count up. The only riots I've seen have been police riots and the only violence I've seen has been police violence.
Walking in the street is not violent.
Sitting in the street is not violent.
Jaywalking (especially when the street is already blocked by cops) is not violent.
Spray-painting is not violent.
And no, breaking a window at McDonalds is not violent either.
Yet, these are the actions that supposedly justify the violent police response that has run rampant the last five days. Again this morning I saw violence. I saw people grabbed, manhandled, and arm-twisted. In an incident I did not see, but heard from someone I trust, the police threw a person to the ground so their face hit the pavement and then peppersprayed them in the face. This was for jaywalking.
On Thursday, on the Morrison Bridge, a 14 year old girl was peppersprayed in the face. So was a woman in her fifties who looked like your next-door neighbor or aunt. Another young woman was thrown to the ground and hit her head so hard she couldn't walk without assistance. A large man suffered a respiratory attack after the pepperspray was flying and I watched his body convulse violently on the pavement until an ambulance came for him. Critical Mass bike riders were beaten and I saw a woman with a huge bruise across the back of her thigh. On Saturday, a disabled teenage woman was tackled in the crosswalk (on a street blocked by cops) and taken to the Justice Center. They wouldn't let her crying mother in to see her.
Now listen here, and listen good: THIS IS NOT POLICE RESTRAINT.
None of these people deserved this violent treatment. Yet when the corporate media reports "restraint" they are justifying this behavior. Not only the behavior that occured, but future behavior too. You and I and other people who choose to protest on the streets are now in more danger because of this reporting. Seeing that they can get away with it, the police are now more likely to abuse us when they can. The claim by corporate media that they are "objective" is a lie. They are working with the police when the subject is police violence. Even when one of their own is attacked, they soon forget. Their coverage does not change. Their propaganda continues.
So if you want to know one reason why people might be blocking corporate media cameras at protests and trying to prevent them from working, this was one: because our safety as protesters is put at risk by them. Their choices -- in this case, to describe the police as showing "restraint" -- run counter to our freedoms and health. They are part and parcel of the repressive corporate institutions that make war, cut trees, and enslave people. They must be stopped.
FUCK THE CORPORATE MEDIA!
(P.S. - before anyone else says it, yes -- i'm aware of the rumor that a police officer was attacked in some way by a protester at some point on thursday. i don't know if i believe it. but if it is true, that one act does not justify any of the actions the police took afterwards, toward people who weren't the attacker. as for the attacker, (s)he has a consititutional right to their day in court to be punished or not. the police are not judge/jury/executioner and do not have the right to mete out punishment on their own.)