When I’m assaulted in a public place by the sound of bad music, I shout “Somebody call the music police!” But I’m joking at such times. I don’t really expect anyone to dial 911 when Madonna is blaring from the speakers of a passing car, or when Billy Joel is soiling the sound system at my local CVS. Cops have better things to do, right?
Not true, it seems, on St. Patrick’s Day at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, where hundreds of protesters staged a rally to mark the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. From Firedoglake:
The mood in the park was light and celebratory when the sounds of bagpipes were heard, approaching from the west. Hundreds in the park moved toward the noise, only to witness NYPD officers preventing the pipers from entering the park, arresting at least one. Some on the scene said that the pipers were not affiliated with OWS; they had come to NYC from Brittany to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and later decided to play for occupiers.
According to The New York Observer, police became more aggressive soon after confronting the pipers. They entered the park en masse and began clearing it.
Was it the maddening sound of the pipes that set them off? The fact that the pipers were French? We know only that scores of nonviolent protesters were arrested and, in some cases, beaten up. And that this was Michael Bloomberg’s way of reminding the world that his Praetorian Guard is ready to resume kicking ass and ignoring Constitutional rights, whenever they can get away with it, wherever OWS gathers.
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This story actually made me feel sick to my stomach.