Occupy Denver ends a week of peace with nonviolence committee and safety guidelines

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Today concludes the first week without substantial police interaction for Occupy Denver in recent memory.

While the previous week marked five hospitalizations, one arrest inside an igloo, one arrest inside a tent and 21 arrests during that Saturday's riot, the past seven days ended this weekend with a peaceful if smaller than usual rally of around 1,200 people on a day we've been warned to remember: the fifth of November.

Guy Fawkes masks graced an abundance of anonymous faces at this weekend's march, which began at Skyline Park after a decision to give respect and space to veterans staging their own event at the group's usual home of Civic Center Park. Because the march took place in conjunction with Bank Transfer Day, many of those marching divided from the group to close their accounts at banks along the 16th Street Mall. According to The Colorado Independent, the state has seen 14,000 new credit union accounts in the past four weeks and more than $100 million in deposits removed from other banking sources.

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Protesters march at a previous Saturday rally.
Perhaps most notable, however, was the lack of police presence: Zero arrests were made, and the weekend included only the typical instances of police interaction -- park curfew checks, monitoring during the rally, etc. Saturday's march was marked with mini-dance parties at different stops along its route, and while the decision of several protesters to dance on top of an American flag created tension within the group, it was addressed -- albeit still tensely -- at last night's general assembly.

"As a veteran, I pledged to protect the United States and its flag, and I completely support your decision to dance on top of it," protester Rob Piper told dance party members at the 7 p.m. GA. However, sections of the group took offense to the action, in large part for fear of negative press, which sparked debate about the dancing and its connection to the Denver Anarchist Black Cross.

"That's the kind of freedom I pledged to fight for," Piper added. "That's freedom of expression."

All in all, it was a markedly peaceful week for an occupation that has faced its share of the opposite.

The group's current political climate is reflected in its development of a nonviolence committee, the most recent addition to its roster. The goal: to prevent violent situations and better address any that still occur. Last week, the group released a set of guidelines (below) dedicated to de-escalating such happenings both on its website and via print flyers on Saturday, and the release was accompanied by an extensive statement from the nonviolence committee online.

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8 comments
Benjamin
Benjamin

Even Ghandi eventually rationalized that when every non-violent method ceases to work, then there is only one alternative.

I believe the goal of the "anarchists" is to maintain a sense of reality concerning non-violent protesting, which can assuredly lead to violent responses from authority figures. While I disagree ultimately with the decision to use violence, I know deep down that if nobody reacts to such senselessness with the raw human emotion of anger then we are not representing the 99%.

I will never support violence, but if I get shot in the name of this protest, I sincerely hope there's a response stronger than sitting down and saying "shh".

Guest
Guest

 I agree wholeheartedly-but it's difficult to claim that every nonviolent alternative has failed when certain factions within the group work to suppress even the suggestion of using those alternatives.  We can't meet with the Mayor or the Governor-unless it's part of a silly publicity stunt-but we somehow have exhausted every nonviolent alternative?  Gimme a break.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Hickenlooper demonstrated his mettle by promising repect for the First Amendment in one breath, then sending an army of riot police to arrest protesters the next -- no one with the slightest clue and in their right mind would deign to confer legitimacy on Governor Hypocrite by meeting with him.

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