While other cities – from Oakland to New York City to St. Louis to Boston to Portland to even, yes, Burlington – have evicted or disbanded Occupy Wall St. encampments, Providence has seen another approach led by Public Safety Commissioner Col. Steven Pare and Mayor Angel Taveras. Instead of using police action, they have used a “communications-first” strategy that has permitted the Occupy Providence encampment to happen peacefully for the last month since it started on October 15th.
Jim Baron at the Pawtucket Times takes note of the successful city/protest relationship in Providence:
Who says Rhode Island can’t do anything right?
As the various “Occupy” movements across the country have degenerated into violent disarray, the politicians, cops and protesters involved with Occupy Providence have shown the way.
Providence Mayor Angel Tavares has wisely avoided the kind of chest-thumping, get-tough ultimatums that have limited the options of macho mayors in other communities. Likewise, Public Safety Director Steven Pare has taken an accommodating, tolerant and cooperative tone with the demonstrators that — Surprise! Surprise! — has been 100 percent effective in protecting public safety. Tavares and Pare have shown real leadership instead of the knee-jerk, panicked response we have seen in other cities.
And the Occupiers, well they just have to be the most polite darned bunch of antiestablishment radicals I have ever encountered. They have shown absolutely no inclination to engage in angry confrontation and are not spoiling for a fight, so they are not getting either.
As a result, tear gas is not swirling in the air over the streets of Providence, the glass is still in all the store windows downtown, no vehicles have been overturned and no cops or protesters have been injured. That seems to be a pretty good definition of an all-around success.
Indeed. Thank you Commissioner Pare and Mayor Taveras for leading the way on this issue.