The revolution was, in fact, televised
We're a half step off today. We stayed up too late last night watching the Portland police arrest protesters in Jamison Square Park in the Pearl District. One of the Occupy crowd had a video camera on the scene, and it was streaming live on the internet over something called, appropriately enough, livestream. And then we noticed that KATU was carrying a live feed, with a reporter present, on local television. The best combination was the professional TV video -- its camera gave a far superior picture -- and the livestream audio. The KATU reporter had nothing meaningful to add to the images, and she deliberately kept her distance from the shouting members of the crowd, some of whom were using filthy language. In contrast, the livestream guy, although his camera was weak, was right in the thick of things, and he provided his own reasonable commentary over the cacophany behind him.
Although the park officially closed at midnight, it wasn't until about an hour later that the police actually started hauling people out. They used a couple of paddy wagons, a half dozen horses, and a few patrol cars. Several dozen officers donned riot gear, wearing helmets with clear face shields, and carrying clubs. It was about 3:30 in the morning when the last of the 27 or so arrestees were wheeled away.
The people who hunkered down in the park were remarkably quiet, but the hundreds of people who paraded around on the adjoining sidewalk were loud and obnoxious, and they kept it up for several hours. Chanting, screaming, shouting through bullhorns, surely they kept many a resident of the toney Pearl awake most of the night. There was still a noisy gathering of several dozen people when the last of the cops left and they retook the park at 3:30.
Perhaps the most startling sight on the screen was how up in the police officers' faces many of the folks on the sidewalk got. They taunted them mercilessly, lectured them at high decibel levels and uncomfortably close distance, and did everything but spit in their faces as they cussed them out. The police officers showed incredible restraint. A particularly nasty group of men showed up later in the proceedings, around bar closing time, and the relentless epithets and threats they hurled at the police were highly provocative, to put it mildly.
If the Occupiers proved anything last night, it was that they attract far too rowdy a crowd to be allowed to spend the night together in a residential district. Indeed, the racket they made last night would have caused a disturbance even across from City Hall. People live not too far from there, and last night's din could surely be heard blocks away.
The other thing that many of the demonstrators did in the Pearl District was make a large deposit in the police bureau's notorious storehouse of pent-up rage. When the cops finally get the green light to use force against Occupy, a lot of the countless unkind things that were said last night are going to be repaid with interest.