Thought-provoking protest and 'Occupy' Tweets

From Occupying the North pole, police support and 'casually pepper spray everything cop memes' -- an overview of interesting and odd 'Occupy' and protester Tweets.
By Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
1 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNET

The pepper spray incident at UC Davis was cause for fury to be aimed at police who showered non-threatening, sitting protesters with the irritant in the same way you would water your garden plants.

When it came to the crowd-control method of choice, the plants wouldn't be able to fight back, and the students chose not to.

The video footage, shot by a witness, was uploaded to YouTube -- showing an official statement released earlier to be utterly false and as spin in its finest form.

Pepper spray -- oleoresin capsicum -- uses natural inflammatory agents found in over 300 varieties of peppers, including Cayenne. When sprayed in someone's face it causes intense burning around the eyes, temporary blindness, and restricts breathing. 

The incident created a 'Casually pepper spray everything cop' meme that has flooded the web since the day at UC Davis. The reaction was widespread, and the cop who committed the actions has been featured in many different satirical creations.

These satirical images and videos include mock versions of famous paintings, sketches and activist cartoons.

The Sound of Music, 'Don't mind me, I'm just watering my hippies', Declaration of Independence by John Trumball and even 'Hitler responds to Pepper spray Cop' meme are just some of many examples.  


(Source: Twitter)

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A recent OWS Tactical Tweet, an account dedicated to advice and support for Occupy Wall Street protesters.

"@OWSLivestream will set you up with everything you need as a citizen journalist. FILM THE POLICE"

OWS Live stream sets up individuals and offers advice for citizens who wish to report from the ground, heavily promoting citizen journalism to document Occupy events. 

'FILM THE POLICE' is quite a strong statement, and radiates a heavy mistrust of the U.S police force. If you video everything that goes on, then if events like UC Davis reappear, online networks will yet again have the means to retaliate.


(Source: Twitter)

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"What's it like to go from a freezing tent to a cold jail cell? Lets help get @OccupyDenver outta jail. Donate for bail"

This tweet from the account 'Police for the 99 per cent' requested bail support for a protester arrested in the Occupy Denver movement, with PayPal used as a means of donating.

According to their website, their presence online is represented as police in 'solidarity' with Occupy Wall Street protesters.

An interesting letter to the group from 'The Tofu Bacon', an anonymous police sergeant said:

"As a liberal minded police officer, I was overjoyed when I saw the beginning of the Occupy_Police movement. I was heartened by the idea that other law enforcement out there had the courage to come forward to support a movement that was so just in its ideals, but problematic for a peace officer to support.

I am tired of being encouraged to hippy punch and chase around the homeless. I want to fight real crime, burglars, robbers, rapists, fraudsters, the worst of the worst. I’m hoping that if you Occupiers play this right, I’m can look forward to spending time in an economic crimes unit and running some search warrants and court-ordered wire taps on the 1%, to protect the 99%."


(Source: Twitter)

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This serves as a reminder that Occupy protesters are under surveillance from law enforcement agencies -- even if officials don't understand the social networks they are keeping an eye on.

On December 14, Twitter at their headquarters in San Francisco was sent a subpoena requesting information on a number of accounts and hashtags -- anything that was associated with the Occupy Boston movement. The details requested included all account and identification data, and Twitter had 14 days to comply.

The 'criminal investigation' at the D.A's office requested that the social networking giant keep the request confidential and not make it public, referring to confidentiality and integrity concerns. 

Twitter did it anyway, releasing the document to a user under the alias Guido Fawkes listed in the subpoena. 

In the words of a Guido Fawkes' Tweet: "You cannot subpoena a hashtag." 

However, you can monitor them.

Twitter is not the only network being watched -- every online social network can be monitored. Protesters understand this, which is potentially why some Occupy groups are attempting to develop their own version of Facebook. Whether the project comes to anything is to be seen.

(Source: Twitter)

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"We're like water. We will take any form we need to take to get where we need to go."

This is an Occupy Together Tweet, quoting Brenden Burke, the head of security at Occupy Wall Street on the day protesters were evicted from Zuccotti Park.

A metaphoric statement that reminds viewers the word 'Occupy' in itself is fluid. It can be used to demonstrate a variety of reasons and contexts, and while this is the case, people are able to group themselves under the same banner -- no matter where they are in the world.

By doing so, it creates a sense of support and community that transcends across country and language borders. No matter whether a cause is valid or not, by uniting, individuals can feel that they belong to a cause that others believe in.

'Occupy' can include anyone. So can the phrase, "We are the 99 per cent" -- it is inclusive to the point that it includes anyone earning less than half a million dollars a year.


(Source: Twitter)

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A Sukey Tweet aimed at Occupy LSX , part of the London Occupy group.

"No matter how hard you try you can't stop us now." - Tom Morello

Sukey's prerogative is to stop people getting kettled, and keeping protesters 'safe, mobile and informed'. It is a set of tools that includes an application for reporting and receiving news, a messaging console to sort and rate data that's coming in, and a mapping console to visualize the data it collects.

Kettling is the policing tactic used to contain protesters in a limited area. 

Smartphones can access the Sukey application that contains an in-built compass built around your current location. Different bar colours point you to which road junctions are passable, questionable or blocked.


(Source: Twitter)

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"Reuters says 70K, but I assure you they are more than 200k protesters in #Homs NOW. #Syria"

This Tweet was released from Editor-in-Chief of a Syrian revolution newspaper, Kareem Lailah.

It serves to remind us of a brewing battle between citizen journalism and professional news outlets. If you recieved this Tweet, who are you more likely to believe, and can professional reporting keep up?

(Source: Twitter)

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Under the hashtag 'why we occupy?', Occupy Medic's answer was:

"Because I want to leave something better than this for the next generation"

Whether or not you think the Occupy movements have merit, Tweets like this can give viewers a glimpse in to the minds of those protesters that believe in the cause. It's not all drunken hippies and a party -- some protesters feel that by making their displeasure known, they may be able to assist in creating a better economy for the generation to follow. 


(Source: Twitter)


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A heavily retweeted Occupy Wall Street Tweet stated:

"THE POLICE ARE ATTACKING US. NYPD Scooter Just ran over #OWS protester. Please come out and show our numbers. We are the 99% #OWS D17"

This is just one of many examples of events being Tweeted as they occur, providing viewers with a live narrative of Occupy events globally. 


(Source: Twitter)

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Occupy Connecticut seemed to have a problem rallying support.

This amusing Tweet reminds viewers that not every student is interested in protesting.

Connecticut's 'Gold Coast' is a new Occupy protest site -- except almost no protesters have shown up.

Margaret Rague, the organiser of the protest, has resorted to luring protesters by enticing them with free food.

“It wasn’t originally my idea, but the $1,000 will buy train tickets and a meal for the demonstrators. I will lay out more than $1,000 happily if I need to.” she said. 

(Source: Twitter)

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This Tweet serves as a reminder of the financial implications of Occupy demonstrations.

The city of Toronto says the bill for the Occupy Toronto protests earlier this year was $714,000.

Demonstrators began occupying St. James park in Canada on October 15 in a protest that replicates Occupy Wall Street -- where protesters set up shop in  Zucotti Park, New York City.

Policing accounts for the majority of the bill – $661,500 – despite there being few arrests made.

(Source: Twitter)

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"Just hashtags and voices at the tops of their lungs."

A short but clear message -- how technology and more 'traditional' methods have combined to form the structure of modern protests.

Online organisation is possibly the most common form of organising demonstrations now, at least within the West. If you are looking to get a message across immediately, exchange information with thousands of people and communicate with other demonstrators on a global level, there's no other way.

(Source: Twitter)

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A satirical five second animated video that shows elves declaring themselves 'the 99 per cent'. They take their case to Santa, and 'casually pepper spray everything cop' gets on with his work.

The video ends with a statement from Santa, the 1%: "Using pepper spray only gets them angry."

This video is a mockery of how Occupy demonstrations are spreading across the globe -- and perhaps the North Pole is next. 


(Source: Twitter)

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"Hey y'all, looking to speak w/ protesters who've been abused by police. DM me if you're willing to be quoted for a story."

It's not only citizen journalist or demonstrators using social media to stay up to date with these events. Journalists themselves are also using the tool to communicate with protesters and improve their stories. 

There may be some trouble with this -- as with any online platform, unless you meet in person or view undeniable footage, the demonstrator in question may use journalists as tools to increase the bad press groups such as the police force receive. On the other hand, it is an immediate tool to gain witness perspectives on subjects that you may not be able to usually acquire. 

(Source: Twitter)

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The latest in the Occupy London saga - the Time Out London account Tweeted:

"Occupy London take over a disused courthouse. Plus there's an Occupy comedy slam and gig today at St Pauls."

In an attempt to 'put the one per cent on trial', the London demonstrators took over an abandoned East End magistrates court. The fourth site that Occupy London has taken over, it has been christened 'Occupy justice'. 

In addition, comedy gigs and live music have added a sense of the carnivalesque to the occupation. 


(Source: Twitter)

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Finally, a student's protest over high heels -- a high school junior believes he is being discriminated against by his school.

In Niagara falls, a student wore high heels to class and says he was threatened with suspension because of it. 

After the principal called it a safety hazard, the student decided to make a stand. 

You do have to wonder whether this would have happened if the world was not flooded with demonstrations on every corner -- and if it has contributed to protesting in the young, what we will see next.

(Source: Twitter)

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