This won’t end well, but it should provide plenty of comedy.
When Occupy Newark came to town, they looked like kindred spirits to Newark’s home-grown protesters.
Union leader Rahaman Muhammad brought the occupiers sandwiches. City Councilman Ras Baraka pitched a tent in Military Park. Donna Jackson, a vocal member of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, stood vigil.
But six weeks later, tensions between Newark’s native activists and the occupation have devolved into accusations, shouting matches and threats of eviction.
“There’s been drinking, drugging … They offered my son some marijuana,” said Rahaman Muhammad, president of the SEIU Local 617. “There’s really no code of conduct down there.”
Occupy members have declined to provide their full names, but one woman, Angela X, spoke on behalf of the group at yesterday’s city council meeting, despite Jackson and others trying to shout her down.
“You’ve been protesting in Newark for 30 years,” she said. “We’re still starving.”
Aside from generational conflicts, the recent schism may have a more direct cause.
“The leader of the leaderless movement told me I couldn’t come down there anymore,” Baraka said.