May Day violence has begun in the United States, with many in the media downplaying the protests. Not surprisingly, some of the headlines and articles so far regarding the May Day protests use phrases to describe the protests such as "mostly peaceful," "rogue elements," "fringe," "splinter element" shows that the mainstream media is unwilling still to demand that the Occupy Wall Street movement denounce violence. The reaction from Occupy spokespeople and statements also diminishes the violence, by claiming that those involved in violence were somehow not related to the movement.
In Miami, demonstrators and police clashed in the streets, one officer was injured, according to the local news.
Occupy Cleveland arrested five "self-described anarchists...on suspicion of plotting to blow up a four-lane highway bridge over a national park." An Occupy Cleveland statement said that although the men arrested were associated with Occupy Cleveland, that "they were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland." The Occupy Cleveland group can be credited, however, for cancelling their events after the plot was exposed.
Reuters reported that in Oakland, California, some demonstrators were arrested who "threw objects at police and defied an order to disperse." Mercury News reported that "Thugs bashed in the front windshield of a KCBS news truck." They threw paint at police officers and grabbed the nightstick from another. The article pointed out, "It wasn't a question of if these people would attempt to provoke a violent confrontation with the police. That was their main intent."
In Seattle, about 50 protesters shattered the windows of several stores including a Nike town outlet and an HSBC bank with black flags on sticks. Still others "smashed windows at a Seattle federal building." Some of the protestors had tire-irons and the Mayor invoked emergency orders.
The Occupy Madison camp was asked to leave, Mayor Paul Soglin said the "encampment has become a haven for drug use, assault and property crime." He stated, "You cannot build a strong community that's racked by violence, by substance abuse and most important, denial."
In San Francisco, the local news sfgate reported, "Business owners in San Francisco's Mission District, cleaning up after a night in which protesters damaged more than 30 stores and restaurants and vandalized [at least 17] cars." The story continued to say that 100-150 people were involved and that the police station was also a target. "At the Mission police station at 17th and Valencia streets, pink and yellow paint was thrown on the barricaded glass doors, which someone cracked with a hammer or similar weapon." One person surveyed the smashed window at her business said, "Occupy is saying it's not them, but we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Occupy, now would we?"
In New York, the National Review reported that photographers were a target. The article said that "one photographer was hit in the face, another got in a "tug-of-war" with a protester over her camera, and another had her camera smashed into her face by a protester." New York police arrested about 30 people for "disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following a series of scuffles throughout the day." One report said that a 23-year-old man was arrested for vandalism and a 19-year-old man with a knife was also arrested.
In Los Angeles, "A female officer was struck with a skateboard around 4 p.m. at the intersection. Two suspects were detained for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. The officer was taken to the hospital."
Four people were arrested in Oakland; three People were arrested in Miami; six people were arrested in Seattle; at least 12 were arrested in Portland, Oregon, and 10 in Los Angeles; 5 in Cleveland and 30 in New York...so far.
May Day violence was not as bad as some had feared. But does that mean that the violence that did occur can be excused away?