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Caught on Camera: 10 Shockingly Violent Police Assaults on Occupy Protesters

Probably 97 percent of police act professionally toward protesters. But the other 3 percent are armed and dangerous, and know that they're unlikely to be held accountable.

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Also note the climate. As I wrote recently, those who have developed an image of police actions from New York should understand that riot police in Oakland are highly militarized, clad in full black body armor and bristling with automatic weapons, teargas launchers, flash-bang grenades and tasers. When they move in, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a battlefield, replete with a series of jarring explosions.

Those aggressive tactics create a dangerous cycle, allowing the minority of protesters who seek confrontation with law enforcement to justify their provocations as acts of “self-defense.”

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.