©Nov 9 2011 (please link to this page)
Historically: Civil disobedience has been an invaluable tool to democracy. Without it, people would not have been able to get the right to vote (e.g. women, racial groups) and other civil liberties. The environmental movement owes its successes to protest and civil disobedience. People all around the globe are free from tyranny today largely through protest and civil disobedience.
Controlling Dissent: Western mayors (and the 1%) control the nature of protests: you can protest the way we (the 1%) tell you you can protest, only–that is, the traditional way that we know how to control–we will not tolerate any innovative ways to protest (i.e. occupying public space). Also, the authorities dismiss and demean the validity of any protest as a means of controlling dissent.
Balancing rights: On one side of the balance is the right of the mayor to enforce restrictions on the use of public (and semi-public) space by the public. On the other side is the democratic right of people to protest. At this point, many of the 99% are happy to permit the great sadness of economic inequity in society to continue as long as the right to walk your dog in the park without having to look at an Occupy encampment is protected.