Friday, March 3, 2017

Joining a protest? Free Speech is your right. But always be vigilant. Why? “Anarchists use and take advantage of local citizens. . .”.

Many residents of Lake Worth will be familiar with one Anarchist in particular, one who tried to get elected to the City Commission in 2016:

“It’s time you guys know that we are no longer playing around . . . we are about to start striking fear, shooting down all cops that we see by their selves . . . Happy F       The Police Day! Remember children. All Cops Are Bastards! Have a great day!”

Watching protests against President Trump is about as American as you can get: peacefully protesting Trump’s policies, administration priorities, and many remain angry believing Hillary Clinton was wronged, the election rigged. So far, protests in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach have ended up with no (or few) arrests, no one got hurt, and everyone went home. Peacefully.

However, any peaceful gathering or protest—no matter how well organized—can be hijacked with just a few well-placed troublemakers. I saw this first-hand in October 2014 when the local Anarchists from Everglades EarthFirst! joined a protest by the Guatemalan Maya Center (GMC) in Lake Worth.

The GMC members organized to address what they perceived were abuses by law enforcement in their neighborhood. But shortly prior to their arrival outside PBSO headquarters a group of Anarchists had already hijacked that public space and made it a protest against PBSO instead, not about any particular incident or incidents, just PBSO and law enforcement in general.

There was no violence that day but you could feel the energy and how things could have changed very quickly. Also got the feeling the media there that day probably wouldn’t have minded one bit.

An Anarchist at the GMC gathering with the sign, PBSO Deputies Are Worthless!Very charming, isnt it?

Following this event someone sent me this interesting information concerning protests in Durham, North Carolina. There were many other protests occurring around the nation at the time after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The interesting thing about the Durham protests is the authorities laid the blame squarely on the Anarchists for the violence that followed:

     The report, released by [Durham] City Manager Thomas Bonfield, suggests the demonstrations were escalated due to the interference of anarchist groups known that have been involved in previous protests in the city.
     “Anarchists use and take advantage of local citizens that are upset about a current event,” the report said.
     The report points to an incident earlier this year when protesters marched in response of the death of Jesus Huerta, who died from a gunshot wound to his head while handcuffed in the backseat of a Durham police cruiser.
     “During the Huerta marches, anarchists surrounded themselves with local citizens during marches, then changed into all black clothing to disguise their identity to commit criminal acts in anonymity, finally returning to the crowd to discard the black clothing and masks,” the report said.

[and. . .]

     Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said he has “no doubt” that anarchist groups are behind some of the recent protests.
     “Everything that I’ve gotten through intelligence and social media and information from other people points to that,” Lopez said. “I think it’s also reflected in some of the people that we’ve arrested who have been involved in a lot of anarchist-type situations before. And if you look at their social spots, you’ll see that what they’re talking about is anarchist movements.”

Let’s say a protest is organized in Lake Worth, or elsewhere, and you wish to join and demonstrate your displeasure. As you are demonstrating peacefully, a rock is tossed over your shoulder towards the police. You didn’t throw the rock. Some Anarchist did. But you don’t know that. The police don’t know who threw the rock either. That one rock could turn a peaceful protest into something altogether different.

So what should you do? If you join a protest be vigilant. Watch out for troublemakers. If you see something that doesn’t look right call 911 or look around for a deputy. For example, if you join a protest in Lake Worth:
If you see something suspicious, “Make the Call Y’all”.

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