Sun 16 Oct 2011
In a beautiful showdown at the October 15th Times Square #OccupyWallStreet protest yesterday, a US Marine yelled at NYPD police for their aggressive behavior. Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas first talked peacefully to the police, then yelled at them, as they blasted on their megaphones statements like “leave the sidewalk and nobody gets hurt.” So many people who were tweeting or speaking on livecams from the protest side confirmed that the NYPD were being aggressive and repeatedly threatened protesters about hurting them if they didn’t immediately heed the commands to move out of Times Square (where they were very peacefully protesting). After a minute or two, the US Marine became increasingly angry, and among what he yelled to the NYPD were:
“These are U.S. citizens peacefully protesting! These are the people you are supposed to protect!” “Why are you all acting like there’s a war out here, no one has guns! Why are you treating people like this! This is America, why are you treating people like this! Nobody’s gonna hurt you guys. Why are you all gearing up like this is war? This is not war! This is not war!
Why am you all acting like this? No one has guns. There are no bullets flying out here. How tough are you? How do you sleep at night? There is no honor in this. None. It takes a coward to hurt an unarmed civilian!”
It was so moving to see a US Marine check the NYPD on their actions, and remind them of their duty to protect, not threaten, the protesters. It was also moving to me, personally, to see this anger come from the mouth of a black man, and for his words to be respected (instead of tasers or batons being unleashed on him). Viewing the video, you get a sense of the collective frustration and rage of the crowd, coming out of the mouth of a US serviceman.
We are living history right now. Can you feel it?
Another video of the same interaction: