Occupiers should keep it peaceful

Occupy movements on the coast are in danger in devolving into violent protests, which isn't good for PR or the issues at hand.

While the Occupy movement event in Grand Forks happened a few weeks ago and was a one-day event, other movements across North America continue.

There have been clashes between law enforcement and occupiers throughout the United States and some protesters, such as ones in Colorado and Atlanta have been arrested.

Closer to home (or home province) Occupy encampments in Vancouver and Victoria have been asked to vacate their respective premises – in the case of Vancouver the Art Gallery and Centennial Square in Victoria’s case. Victoria was supposed to shut down by 12 p.m. last Monday, at least as of press time, and officials in Vancouver were taking steps to close the art gallery camp as soon as possible.

The many intentions of the Occupy movement are noble, as the rich shouldn’t get special treatment in general or in terms of taxation.

While the Occupy movement in Victoria and Vancouver have been peaceful thus far, protests such as these – G20 Toronto 2010 and ones during the 2010 Winter Olympics for example – have a way of getting out of hand, with protesters using Black Bloc practices, which can include mass vandalism.

So far however, the occupiers in Vancouver have been very diplomatic but there seem to be cracks. There have been a few drug-related incidents over the past few days and over the weekend someone passed away, reportedly by overdose, although this hasn’t been confirmed yet.

This led city officials to take the aforementioned steps to closure and emotions are beginning to boil. On the news Monday morning a spokesperson spoke eloquently about what the organizers planned to do but there have been some that haven’t been so diplomatic.

On Saturday night, some occupiers went as far as to accuse news reporters of spreading lies about the current situation and if the police move in to break up the camps there could be a switch  from peace to Black Bloc.

Image is sometimes perception and so far, the Occupy movement has won on the PR front in my opinion.

The camps appear to be well organized and self-sufficient, with people reportedly even taking turns to clean up.

Drug-related incidents can happen anywhere and I can understand why occupiers might feel offended by being typecast but if it devolves into violence, the movements in Vancouver and Victoria will be all for nought.