The Kennebec Journal editors’ opinion piece of Nov. 8 properly praised the behavior of the protesters in the local park.

However, it did a disservice to the police and city leaders by not acknowledging their “restraint and responsible manner, and for disavowing the turmoil that has cropped up elsewhere.”

The editors admitted that in Oakland “it seemed possible that the troublemakers weren’t part of the protest movement at all, that they were thugs who wanted to fight with police and turn a peaceful demonstration into a riot.”

There is strong evidence that the violence in Oakland may have been initiated by the police themselves.

New York Mayor Bloomberg was “fed up with the protesters” (citizens) and vowed that “violence won’t be tolerated.” What is more violent and unnecessary than attacking sleeping people at one o’clock in the morning with knives and saws, slashing tents and sawing tent poles.

Surely the police have better methods of “keeping the peace” than they displayed that night.

Historically, some police departments around the country, and the FBI, have not been without blame when violence occurred in such situations. There is documentation that J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI agents to infiltrate political groups during marches and throw bricks at police if violence was not spontaneous.

Every situation is different and must be judged on its own merits. It behooves the editors of the Journal to keep an open mind and give credit or blame where due.

Peaceful protesters are the citizens’ lobbyists. Let’s reverse the erosion of the United States Constitution’s provisions for freedom of speech and the right to assemble.

Tony Ciston

Augusta


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