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Will the fringes of the occupy movement help or hurt the cause?

by AirTalk®

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Occupy Wall Street protesters gather together at Foley Square in New York after being evicted from Zuccotti Park. Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Across the country, police have swept into Occupy Wall Street encampments to remove demonstrators amid increasing complaints about safety, sanitation and drug use.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, New York police in riot gear cleared out Zucotti Park, evicting dozens of protesters from the epicenter of what has become a worldwide movement. Most protesters left peacefully. Others refused and a temporary court order has allowed them to return to Zucotti temporarily. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city was unaware of the court order, and will fight in what could be a legal showdown.

Police have taken similar action to shut down camps in Oakland, Portland, Burlington, Denver, Salt Lake City and St. Louis in Missouri. In Southern California, assaults are raising concerns at Occupy LA. And up north, evicted Oakland activists say they'll march to the University of California, Berkeley to join protesters there and attempt to set up an Occupy Cal camp after police arrested dozens of protesters who tried to camp there less than a week ago.


With health and safety concerns growing, how will the Occupy movement keep members safe? With every large public demonstration comes the fringe element, do the radical fringe help or hurt the causes they support? We'll examine how fringe groups through the ages have impacted their causes.


Paul Brace, professor of political ccience; Clarence L. Carter chair of legal studies in the department of political science at Rice University

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