The burgeoning “Occupy” movement in the United States received another black eye late Tuesday, after a protestor at a Washington, D.C., event tossed what appeared to be a smoke bomb over the White House fence. Additionally, one protestor was arrested for assaulting a police officer and three others were arrested for crossing a police line.
As a result of Tuesday’s events, the White House was locked down for an hour (though President Barack Obama and his wife were not present at the time), and the north gate to the residence was closed while the tossed object was investigated.
These events stand in stark contrast to both the otherwise peaceful protests carried out by other “Occupy” activists, some of whom came from as far away as Nevada and California to participate, and to the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday was recently celebrated. King’s efforts to obtain civil rights for African-Americans were rooted in the principles of non-violence first popularized by Mohandas Gandhi. And while these two men, and their supporters and followers, suffered terribly for their cause, their efforts eventually bore fruit. Gandhi played a crucial role in India becoming independent from British rule, and African-Americans still might be unfairly disenfranchised from voting if not for King.
Attacking police and throwing smoke bombs might bring a protest movement attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Nonviolence might take more time to achieve results, but those results are often staggering.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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