I've been having an ongoing argument about the #Occupy movement with my sisters, and it's made me want to explore some ideas about the nature of protest movements.
Simply put, my claim is that non-violent protests are designed as such to reveal the violent lengths that police/armies will go to in order to preserve the status quo. I'm not a student of literature about non-violent protest, so I am sure that has been said before, but people these days do not seem to REALIZE this essential truth.
That does not mean that protesters are TO BLAME for the violence perpetrated on them by police or armies. The police or armies could choose not to use violent means to disperse a crowd. They choose to use these means. I am afraid that what is happening is that people are becoming desensitized to the violence police are using. I also worry that the idea that the individuals are responsible for the violence inflicted upon them means that they deserve it.
As I pointed out to one of my sisters, the believe in non-violent protest needs to transcend political ideology. I may not particularly like the people who protest outside of abortion clinics screaming at women going inside to get an abortion, but they do have that right.