The images of young people bloodied by police batons or arrested by the hundreds in an unwarranted show of force are not only shameful but, because “the whole world is watching,” they undermine Washington’s moral authority to demand respect for the rights of peaceful demonstrators in other countries. It has been far too obvious that authorities are more intent on suppressing dissent than in doing their job of maintaining order.
“Beautiful day of solidarity alongside the creepy, ominous feeling of being in a police state,” is how Puerto Rican actress Karina Casiano described last Thursday’s Day of Action. “The police and the mayor lie blatantly about protesters initiating violence. The media post their version, choosing to ignore what is really taking place here. Still, the Movement grows.”
Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s outrageous claim that they were arrested for their protection, the detention of at least seven journalists — one of them a Daily News colleague — as they covered the Occupy Wall Street protests here serves as one more proof of the excessive force and abusive attitude displayed by the NYPD.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom, rightfully complained about the treatment and detention of the journalists.
“Journalists must be allowed to cover news events without fear of arrest and harassment,” said Carlos Lauria, the group’s senior coordinator for the Americas.
Imagine Washington’s outraged reaction if this had happened in any other country. After all, no matter how you spin it, the arrests infringed upon these journalists’ right to do their work, and however benignly the authorities present them, they attempted to suppress freedom of information and of the press.