Occupiers and Police Reflect on a Weekend of Peacful Arrests
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–No thundering horses, no tear gas, no busted heads — it was a quiet weekend, as St. Louis Police arrested 27 Occupiers with both sides praising the other for restraint.
Against the backdrop of other Occupy showdowns that have led to bloodshed, the St. Louis protestors submitted themselves for arrests like motorists waiting in line to renew their driver’s licence.
“From everything we had learned from dealing with Occupy St. Louis over the entire time span, they were not interested in any type of physical confrontation with law enforcement,” said Lt. Colonel Alfred Atkins.
Atkins says bicycle police who had visited the encampment for weeks developed a rapport with the protestors that paved the way for the almost diplomatic arrests.
Before the arrests, Occupy members who planned to spend the night in jail attended “classes” on site with the American Civil Liberties Union on how to get arrested peacefully.
“We stated that I’m not going to resist arrest, if your going to arrest me,” said protestor D.D. Medina, “I’m going to give you my hands. I’m not going to go limp, because even going limp is a form of resistance.”
On the Monday after the arrests, a group of about a dozen Occupiers gathered on the steps of Kiener Plaza, mulling over all that has happened since they started pitching tents there October 1st. With the tents gone, the bricks hosed down and no posters — the scene resembled an empty stage after a play has run its course.
“The police could have come in here in riot gear and aggravated a few people, but they didn’t,” said protestor Don Waltman, “They came in here peacefully.”
At Police Headquarters, Lt. Colonel Atkins was thankful that the fears of “another Oakland” proved unfounded.
“Historically, in the midwest, at least in the St. Louis area, I can’t remember a time when we encountered physical confrontations with protestors,” Atkins said.