US police have dismantled the encampment of anti-Wall Street protesters in Oakland and begun making arrests after the city became the scene of violent clashes.
Before the raid, an email from an anonymous sender warned Occupy Oakland protesters that the police would be moving in to remove their tents.
The raid came one day after police forcibly cleared hundreds of anti-Wall Street demonstrators from weeks-old encampments in Portland, arresting more than 50 people.
Also Monday, police fired tear gas to disperse Occupy demonstrators in Denver and Salt Lake City. Riot police broke up the encampments and arrested several protesters.
Press TV interviews with Bill Jones from the Executive Intelligence Review from Washington, to discuss the issue more.
Press TV: What we saw today in Oakland today, the police action, the dismantling of the tents, is this protest movement entering a new phase all together.
Jones: I think it definitely is, I think one thing you can say about it is it is not going away. That doesn’t mean people will be out on the streets in the same magnitude as they have been. Had it been cold weather here – our normal approaching winter– people probably would have been less prone to go out but it has been very nice weather so the demonstrators are still there. The police have been generally conscious after the first operations in Oakland where they got feedback, even former US army veterans had been seriously injured, [the incident] became very bad for the Oakland mayor so they backed off but now again when the masses have diminished somewhat, they intend to move in and clear the area out but this is not going to go away.
Press TV: Of course the major question now is how close these demonstrations have become to realizing their demands, of course a broad range of demands there, and some are saying that some of those demands are too general to be realized so quickly in a short period of time and they also raise doubts whether the government can meet those demands, what do you think?
Jones: Unfortunately, the demands have become less and less focused. The initial objective was aimed against Wall Street, that striping Wall Street of the power it has had over the US economy and US citizenry. A lot of other things have been thrown into the mix making it more diffused message, I think that had become a problem. The focus on Wall Street is where the focus should be.
The administration, however, has no response, has no understanding of the solutions of dealing with this economic crisis. They are still trying to bail out what has proven to be a failed system and I think it is quite accurate to say the great majority –whether 99 percent or somewhat less– of Americans feel that they have became totally alienated from the system which they are supposed to be controlling and therefore ,as the economy continues to spin into a worse and worse situation –and it will get worse, not better, under present political conditions– you will see more and more actions of this type: mass demonstrations, perhaps mass strikes.
We are going into a very turbulent period and since this administration has shown absolutely no understanding of coming up with solutions to the situation, the turbulence is going to get deeper and more extensive as we go on through the end of this and year and beginning of next year.
Press TV: You said that the main focus of this movement was Wall Street, we are hearing of – in protesters’ words, the military-banking relationship, or the slogans given against the banks, Wall Street and corporations. Which part of all these names we just mentioned is, do you think, most in danger now or at least at stake because of these protests?
Jones: I think if this protest gets a direction, the brakes can be placed on the Wall Street control. In fact, in the US Congress there is an attempt to bring back legislation -which we had up until 1988 when the Glass-Steagall bill was revoked– it was legislation that said Wall Street –that is, the investment banks– have no legal rights to get involved in our commercial banking systems, that is where grandma savings are and that is where our the student loans are, that is what Wall Street has taken and played on their own international casinos.
If –and this has been discussed by many of the demonstrators– you can get the Glass-Steagall back, you would build a firewall against Wall Street and they would have to pay off their own debts and not the federal government. But the Obama administration has been opposed to it; even though there is a lot of support in Congress to that. The demonstrators should take that as their guiding light and you would get some kind of a result.