The New York Police Department is closely following the “fissures” inside the Occupy Wall Street movement in preparation for what it sees as possible violence from splinter groups, according to a leaked memo.
A spokesman for the NYPD, Paul Browne, confirmed the memo’s authenticity but said it had been distributed widely to security directors in the private sector, and said it was not news. The document, dated last Friday, was posted to an Occupy Wall Street website.
The document details Occupy’s history, tactics, and scheduled events, and indicates that the police department anticipates potential violence:
Political fissures that are present within the OWS movement may impact the strategies of demonstrators during individual protest actions; in particular, the Wildcat March is not an officially sanctioned OWS march and may attract militant elements from inside and outside the OWS movement that may seek to directly confront law enforcement officials using barricades, riot shields, and possibly weapons such as pipes and rocks.
The document makes clear that the Police Department blames Occupy Wall Street’s diffuse leadership, the General Assembly, for potential violence.
“In their planning, the OWS NYCGA has endorsed solidarity based on a ‘respect for a diversity of tactics,’ which suggests that autonomous actions of demonstrators using Black Bloc tactics may occur at any time,” the memo says, warning that “everything from peaceful protests to the kind of vandalism directed at Starbucks in April, when demonstrators tried to smash the windows at the Starbucks location at Astor Place, has been embraced by the movement.”
The police department also anticipates unscheduled marches and activity after the end of the released schedule at 7 p.m. tomorrow, per the document.
Occupy organizers have blamed police for much of the violence associated with the New York City movement to date, and the protests have been largely non-violent.