Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Friday said the Oakland police overreacted to Occupy Wall Street protesters earlier this week and condemned the police tactics.
Lee, who represents Oakland, said she was “terrified” on Tuesday when police used tear gas on a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters camped in front of City Hall. Police reportedly fired a series of rounds of tear gas on a group of protesters who refused to leave.
“These are peaceful protesters who have a right to petition their government,” Lee said during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
“The reaction was not appropriate.”
Lee also defended the leaderless resistance movement, which started in New York City's Financial District late last month and has spread from there.
“I from day one have fully supported the Occupy movement. I think it's about time that people hit the streets and raise the concerns of the 99 percent,” Lee said.
“This is a movement of people. I don't believe right now it needs leadership. I don't believe it even needs an agenda,” she added. “This is a movement that is building.”
Other Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act Domestic travel vaccine mandate back in spotlight Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (Calif.), have recently sounded more uncertain that the movement can be effective without a defined purpose.
“There are all kinds of different agendas going on [and it is] hard to figure out what people want,” Feinstein said Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
She expressed a need for the protesters to find some direction and said they could not "occupy" indefinitely. "I don’t think people, for example, can sleep in a square for weeks on end," she said. "You have to have some order to it."