Tanks in LA: Riot Provocation?

Tanks on streets of LAThis is confirmed: tanks (technically amphibious armoured assault vehicles, but I’m not arguing semantics here) rolled up to an anti-war protest in West Los Angeles on the night of November 9th and hung out for no reason at all.

Now, far be it for me to side with the protesters here, since ANSWER is a group that openly advocates socialism, but I find this kind of outright government intimidation to be disgusting and abhorrent.

Here’s a link to the video of the encounter where it becomes obvious that this was not a mere drive-by.

The backstory from Indymedia (via BoingBoing) for anyone not familiar:

LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 – At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered. Enraged, some of the people attempted to block the tanks, but police quickly cleared the street. The people continued to protest the presence of the tanks, but about ten minutes the tanks drove off. It is unclear as to why the tanks were deployed to this location. [emphasis added]

All in all, this just smacks of opportunism by some high-level general to screw with protestors and possibly provoke them.

Speaking of provocation, there’s an interesting part of the clip that no one has pointed out. One of the drivers flips off the crowd as they pull up. I’m sure if the crowd had reacted violently, we’d hear the right-wing pundits slapping the soldiers on the back for being heroes in the face of those dirty hippies. Sadly, the lefty anti-war crowd really is a bunch of pussies who could only stand in front of the tank for a moment in some bizarro tribute to Tiananmen Square.

Tanks in LA - middle finger detail

Looks like the boys on the right are looking forward to getting their revenge on the blue states sooner than expected. And what’s that? Not a peep from the media? You don’t say!

UPDATE: The whole thing could be a huge funny mix-up, there’s a report going around about how these guys were lost and were trying to ask the protestors for directions. I’m inclined to believe it, because I know I always roll up to people and flip them off before asking for directions. Of course, tomorrow is Veterans Day and no doubt there will be a parade in West LA with some tanks to show off, so it’s entirely plausible.

“Did you drive around the block twice?” I asked.

“Yeah, we did. We stopped to ask them (the protestors) directions, but they weren’t very nice.”

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