Derek Olsen writes on his weblog, haligweorc:
I object to media reports about demonstrators turning violent. This is imprecise and misleading language. There have been demonstrations through the week with an especially large demonstration on Saturday; in our Adult Forum Sunday we got a full run-down of the events there as two of the women from our church — who are lawyers with the ACLU — were present, one as an official Legal Observer. Their observations were that the demonstrators were predominately local people demonstrating peacefully and only a small fraction were violent. Too, they said that there was a very heavy police presence but that it was marked by restrtaint. Even when they saw demonstrators throw water bottles or rocks at the police, the officers did not respond to the provocations.
What happened yesterday was not demonstrating turning violent. Rather, it was the deliberate creation of opportunistic chaos. Most of the violence I saw on TV and heard about was done by juveniles. In the footage — particularly the day-time footage of activity near Mondawmin Mall — notice the prevalence of light blue and orange shirts; in that section of the city, orange is the school uniform for middle schoolers, and light blue is for high schoolers (middle schoolers wear green in my neighborhood…). This activity was not protest at an unjust system as much as opportunistic criminal behavior to loot local (local!) community businesses under the cover of a larger situation of unrest.
Image of Baltimore at night by ardelfin, via morgueFile