One person was arrested and two others hospitalized after a melee in Rome, New York. Pepper spray was used by police to break up a fight in Kingston, North Carolina. Gunfire was heard in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A shooting at 1 am injured a woman in the leg in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A fight broke out in San Leandro, California, and a man was shot. And, a woman pepper sprayed a crowd around her injuring twenty people.
This is not an excerpt from a conservative blog post on the latest incidents of violence to occur as a result of the Occupy movement. This is what happened late last night and early this morning, according to AP, when shoppers were pushing their way through crowds to get the best deals from Big Box stores like Best Buy or Wal-Mart.
Brawling and shootings are the sort of violence New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly or other police commanders might suggest would happen if they didn’t have a massive police presence at Occupy protests. But, they would never suggest riot cops needed to be on patrol to disperse consumers fighting over plasma televisions.
Nothing captures the double standard in American society like this photo (via @B_Twe5_G )
True, Black Friday is only one day of the year. Police forces and cities have been facing the prospect of camps lasting through the winter and being used as constant hubs for demonstrations all over the city. But that still doesn’t address the fact that one-off demonstrations usually get more of a militarized police response than Black Friday, despite the fact that every year there are major incidents of violence in certain areas.
The reported incidents would appall anyone if they had occurred during an Occupy protest. If even a bit of shoving through doors or littering was reported, that would make people upset. But, Americans are more tolerant of people who are violent when shopping than they are of people who are violent when dissenting (and, of course, it should be noted that a good portion of the violence during protests comes from police creating the incidents themselves).
Firedoglake’s premier live blog resumes now. We’ll be covering any more reports of rabid consumers this morning, along with all the hot air being blown at Occupy Wall Street for planning protests of Black Friday today.
Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest.
11:04 PM 150 Occupy PDX (Portland, Oregon) supporters protest at Lloyd Center for Black Friday and chant, “Don’t buy! Occupy!”
5:46 PM Man shopping is tased on Black Friday.
5:31 PM Woman believed to have set fire to camp at Occupy Winnipeg in Canada
5:28 PM Occupy Lansing rallies at local mall on Black Friday
5:23 PM Mayor says Occupy Philly must leave by Sunday
2:22 PM Occupy Harrisburg participant arrested. Apparently the mall would not allow actual zombie consumers to shop on Black Friday.
1:36 PM Police tackle Occupy OKC protesters at a Wal-Mart in Del City, Oklahoma. Ten are arrested. The group was showing support for employees who had to work Black Friday. They shouted, “Buy local!” and after that police in the store began to crack down.
11:43 AM Headline reads: “Shoppers occupy malls on Black Friday.” I doubt the use of the word “occupy” isn’t intentional. Shoppers aren’t “occupying” anything though. They aren’t going to be asked to leave any stores because they are unwanted. If they fail to respect the space, they will not be arrested for disorderly conduct on the same scale that protesters would be arrested.
11:40 AM An Occupy protester at a small protest at Macy’s in New York earlier: ““People still like to shop, and that’s what they know…But nothing that is being sold here is made in America, nothing is going to your local economy.”
11:37 AM ICYMI: Low-wage workers at Target and Wal-Mart are finally fighting back after being required to work hours on Thanksgiving
11:33 AM Occupy Seattle plans to demonstrate at Wal-Mart at 2 pm PST and also rally from noon to 5 pm PST at Westlake Park in “Seattle’s downtown retail core.”
11:19 AM Statement of support from Occupy Denver on “Buy Local” Black Friday
11:15 AM To get a good idea of how consumerism further rots the social character of America, here is a live blog on shopping in the San Francisco Bay Area
11:11 AM Occupy Chicago was outside of a Best Buy in Chicago. They tweeted pictures from their attempt to protest, which police tried to thwart by pestering them constantly. This photo shows the mess left by shoppers, which they say they would be arrested for leaving.
They are probably right. Police have shown zero tolerance for Occupy Chicago’s protest outside the Federal Reserve in Chicago.