Monday, 14 November 2011

Occupy Oakland vs. the Police, a Twitter Case Study

The following tweet maps show the distribution of tweets at various times during the night of 14th of November and the early morning of the 15th of November during the police raid of Occupy Oakland.  The pattern of tweets show how the group was able to keep its cohesion and unity as the police carried out their raid, and how it was able to rapidly reform as the police left.  This kind of smart crowd can effectively undermine much of the ability of conventional police methods for stopping demonstrations.
At about 3 am local time a group of Occupy demonstrators had grouped around their camp, there was a lot of tweeting as people prepared for a police raid.

4:00 AM: During the police raid the pattern of mobile tweets from the area dispersed, protesters moved a distance from the police, but using social media and mobile phones they did no disperse.  Rather they became an agile crowd, keeping in touch with each other and the community as the police cleared the tends.

As the police finished their world the Occupy group moved back in coming closer as they learned the police were leaving.

By early morning the police had left, essentially taking a few tents with them, but the Occupy demonstration reformed in the same area. You can see clearly from these tweets that the area has been refilled by protesters and bystanders looking at the protest site.  The area around the camp is the only area of very heavy tweeting in all of Oakland and since police don't generally tweet while doing a raid we can only assume the Occupy movement in Oakland continues, with a few less tents.  

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