Occupy Wall Street protests spread to hundreds of cities

Tens of thousands of anti-Wall Street demonstrators have joined the protests in cities throughout the United States sparked by the Occupy Wall Street campaign in New York City. There were demonstrations of a thousand people or more in Los Angeles, Seattle, Indianapolis, Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas.

There were protests in the hundreds in cities like Boston, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Louisville, Tampa, Las Vegas, Portland and Santa Fe.

In the state of Tennessee alone, there were protests in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro and Clarksville.

The sharpest confrontation took place in Des Moines, where police arrested 32 demonstrators late Sunday night, using pepper spray on at least one man. Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, ordered state police to enforce a requirement that the state capitol grounds were closed at 11 p.m.

Several hundred people had joined in an Occupy Des Moines protest Sunday and voted to stage a round-the-clock occupation of a grassy area typically used for demonstrations and rallies outside the building, which houses the state legislature.

The next day Branstad told the press that no permits would be issued for overnight camping. The 32 arrested were cited for misdemeanor trespassing. Another Iowa protest is taking place in Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa.

In the industrial city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the city manager threatened similar action against Occupy Grand Rapids demonstrators, who set up camp in Ah-Nab-Awen Park in the city’s downtown.

Occupy Wall Street is attracting increasingly hysterical and violent reaction from the right-wing media. A column by editorialist Nolan Finley in the Detroit News vilified the protesters as a “menagerie of malcontents” and a “freak show” whose aim was “the destruction of capitalism.” Finley issued a thinly disguised justification for forcible repression, smearing the demonstrators as anti-Semitic and “violent,” although all the violence has been inflicted by police on peaceful protesters.

In Washington, an ultra-right “journalist” working for The American Spectator took things a step further, infiltrating a protest near the Smithsonian Institution and posing as a protester, then breaking into the museum and provoking security guards there to open fire with pepper spray.

Patrick Howley, an assistant editor with the magazine, wrote online, “As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause—a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator.” He had the nerve to criticize the protesters because they did not follow his lead and make a general assault on the museum.

The magazine later revised his account and took out the admission that he had joined the protest in order to discredit it.