The peaceful resolution of the Occupy L.A. protest set an example-especially after the violence of similar demonstrations in other cities and the controversial way the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has handled these situations in the past.
This time, the confrontation was mainly handled as it should. The arrests were a continuation of the peaceful protest that for almost two months galvanized a progressive agenda where financial and economic policy stood out as they should.
We must wait and see how this movement, which the polls said gained sympathy, will shape up. If the movement does not broaden its base, focus its message and adjust the way it is organized, it will have a hard time growing enough for its impact to result in change.
On the other hand, the strategy the LAPD followed to dismantle and empty out the park the demonstrators used must be recognized. Police officers’ brutal actions in 2007 during a pro-immigration march are still fresh in people’s memories.
Late last Tuesday, the LAPD showed discipline and self-restraint in general, signaling positive changes that will help this law enforcement agency begin to improve its reputation.
This type of action unavoidably involved a few rough incidents. But what matters is that on that day, those were isolated cases and not the norm.
Occupy L.A.’s non-violent outcome makes Los Angeles, its people and its institutions look good. Those involved resolved the protest with peacefulness that was not achieved in other cities.