Are the people holding the banner some kind of direct and proximate to safety or public order that I'm missing and if so why, after committing acts of intimidation and violence against these threats to public order, do the police suddenly drop everything and walk away and leave them still standing there holding their banner?
Is the perceived threat more an existential one?
Is this plain and simply about delivering a message?
The civic responses to the Occupy movement and by extension all economic protests as those against school fees definitely are, deliver a clear message. With their blatant and unambiguous coordination and collusion between media, politicians and police. The 99% protests after all are explicitly and directly targeting powerful entrenched forces and their control over our society. Did we think they would just roll over?
The 99% movement only accomplishes any of it's goals if support for it at least approaches a plurality of that 99%. The monoculture construction we live in created and maintained by the economic power elite will defend itself and a majority of the population still believes there is no viable alternative.
But as the contradicitons become more blatant, as more and more people realize the system is increasingly stacked against them, as we watch Caterpillar continue the elite assault on the concept of the middle class, as corporate citizens annihilate the concept of informed democracy, as those who care about the environment are described as enemies of the state and students are beaten for standing up for equal access to education the entire structure begins to display its structural weaknesses.
So yes, this kind of deliberately oppressive policing does in fact deliver a message, just not the one intended. Intended to display power and authority it instead displays weakness. It displays a huge stupid animal starting to notice pinpricks of opposition and retaliating stupidly and brutally against those threats.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you
, then you win. -Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi