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Police Adapt Tactics, Use ‘Snatch and Grab’ Arrests During May Day

Occupy Wall Street

While the verdict is still out on whether yesterday's "general strike" represented a significant departure from previous mass rallies and actions held by Occupy groups, one clear development emerged from May Day: police are changing their tactics.

Police Adapt Tactics, Use ‘Snatch and Grab’ Arrests During May Day

By Rebecca Burns
In These Times
May 2, 2012

While the verdict is still out on whether yesterday's "general strike" represented a significant departure from previous mass rallies and actions held by Occupy groups, one clear development emerged from May Day: police are changing their tactics.

Targeted arrests, through which police attempt to head off large-scale civil disobedience by snatching individual activists out of the crowd, were documented yesterday in Oakland, New York and Seattle. Unlike the now-familiar Occupy scene of demonstrators being arrested en masse in dramatic, late-night evictions, May Day protesters in many locales were arrested individually throughout the day, in some cases for crossing over onto sidewalks or, according to local media on the scene in Oakland, seemingly at random. As Gawker reported Monday, the NYPD, with involvement from the FBI, raided at least three New York activists’ homes that day to interrogate them about their May Day plans:

Today "there was definitely an upswing in law enforcement activity that seemed to fit the pattern of targeting what police might view as political residences," said Gideon Oliver, the president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which offers legal to support to Occupy Wall Street. "They were asking what are your May Day plans, do you know who the leaders are—these are classic political surveillance questions."

Oliver said the National Lawyer's Guild is aware of at least five instances of NYPD paying activists visits, including one where the FBI was involved in questioning. (He wouldn't elaborate.)

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