The inevitable backlash to the Occupy movement is beginning to hit many American cities. Municipal governments are losing patience and police are beginning to move in. Occupy Oakland and now Occupy Atlanta have been evicted by police. There are also reports coming in of police moving in at Occupy Orlando, Albequerque and Eureka.

Oakland’s crackdown began before dawn today as police raided the encampment making 85 arrests. Tensions flared later on as hundreds or thousands marched and confronted police this evening. Some threw paint, a few hurled rocks or struggled against the onslaught, but facing a barrage of beanbags, tear gas and reportedly sound cannons protesters were scattered or tackled. Reports indicate that over a hundred may now be incarcerated, and the National Lawyers’ Guild’s local chapter is sorely displeased. Oakland was known for having one of the more radical occupations, amongst a lot of battles since the shooting death of a local man at the hands of transit police.

Atlanta’s arrests were far more peaceful, as those who remained at the camp gathered in a circle waiting to be arrested. Those who volunteered for arrest reportedly included a state senator – all 53 have now been released on bail. Though Occupy Atlanta had been given permission to camp into November, a recent “unpermitted” hip-hop concert had worried authorities and the Mayor had revoked his order. A man reportedly sporting a loaded AK-47 probably also had them scared, apparently it was completely legal, he had a permit (God bless America…), and just wanted to encourage fellow conservatives to support the movement. Thankfully, he didn’t bring it to the arrests.

A word of caution to police, governments and others who’d seek to use riot cops to end this movement: it’s a trap. If you strike us down, we will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine – on youtube. A whole bunch more bumbling police brutality is exactly what’s needed to liven up this movement (media has a short attention span – until people start bleeding again).

(Note: It’s come to light since I posted this that Scott Olson, a veteran, was wounded and is in critical condition in the assault on Occupy Oakland. This is not what we need – this is a tragedy, and absolutely unacceptable. It strikes me that the eerily precient words I posted yesterday might now look a little insensitive, and for that I sincerely apologize. I considered removing or re-writing them, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest. The point stands, and the fact that much of Olson’s horrific ordeal was caught on tape only goes to show that it won’t be easily forgotten. Let’s all hope that he makes it through this.)

Far too many people are scarily comfortable with the idea of others getting beaten down at a protest. Those hippie freaks should probably just cut their hair and get a job, right? As movements grow, though, this gets a lot harder. Most people really dislike the idea that they might get tear-gassed, beaten or shot at with beanbags. The more people who get caught up in these crackdowns, the more people are going to feel threatened – and that will only serve to make the protesters’ point all the better. The establishment, of course, has to respond – the Occupy movement, no matter how peaceful, is proving to be very threatening in very fundamental ways. I just doubt that it’ll do them any good.