Politics

Michael Moore: UC-Davis pepper spray incident the Occupy’s ‘iconic’ Tiananmen Square moment

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Just how horrific was last Friday’s UC-Davis police reaction to the campus’ Occupy protest? While no one died, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore believes it is historically significant — perhaps even as grand as one of the more “iconic” protest events in the 20th century.

In an appearance on Monday’s “The Last Word” on MSNBC, Moore apologized to Kase Wheatley, who was also on the MSNBC program for the campus police’s reaction. And according to Moore the event was caused by the Department of Homeland Security’s “militarization” of campus police departments.

“Well, first of all, let me just say to Kase, I’m really sorry that this happened to you. This is not what is supposed to happen in the United States of America,” Moore said. “And the fact that our police departments, now even campus police departments, have been turned into armies – they’ve been militarized mostly through grants from the Department of Homeland Security. And actions like this now are occurring it seems like, every day, all across the country.  But I want to say that what you did there – what happened there at UC-Davis, which, by the way, is – my sister is a graduate of UC Davis. It was just 11 of you sitting there, 11 – just 11.”

Moore explained the reaction wasn’t necessary because it was a small protest. However, he did liken the incident to something that was much grander – the 1989 Tiananmen Square  incident, which according to The New York Times Nicholas Kristof resulted in the deaths of an estimated 400 to 800 civilians.

“This wasn’t a demonstration of 30,000,” Moore said. “This wasn’t a large encampment of 200 tents in Portland. This was just 11 students in a not very well known UC campus. And the images of this have resonated around the world in the same way that the lone young man standing in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square resonated.”

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Moore then went on to add that the UC-Davis incident would be something the entire Occupy Wall Street movement would rally around.

“This will be an iconic moment in this Occupy Wall Street movement, which clearly now has shifted to an even larger movement on campuses,” he said. “And I think that people will remember months or years from now that UC Davis was the moment that Occupy Wall Street went to the college campuses. And this is going to just spread like wildfire I think across campuses in the country.”

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