Occupy Oakland vs. Oakland Police January 28, 2012

Stephen Lam, Reuters

Yesterday protesters in Oakland attempted to occupy “a vacant building owned either by a bank, a large corporation of the 1% or already public.”  They decided on the Oakland Civic Auditorium (Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center), but were thwarted by police.  Here’s where the accounts vary from either side.  The OPD claims the protesters initiated the conflict by throwing objects at officers and “destroying construction equipment.”  Protesters claim the Oakland Police Department violated their own crowd control policy, for which they have been sued twice before (among many other lawsuits).  The crowd then dispersed and marched on police at 10th and Oak Street.  The footage is riveting, and way better than I can put into words, so start the first video at 12:19 to watch it here.  (Keep the window open, and I’ll direct you to other highlights later.)  If you’ve only got 3 minutes to spare, watch police fire on the crowd trying to protect an injured woman: After the initial conflict, the crowd dispersed towards downtown, at which point the OPD began to corral and arrest protesters.  (Skip to 35:00 in the video.)  The police then assaulted citizen journalists (42:00), and at 12th and Harrison. police targeted and arrested a specific Occupier and then fired riot control weapons on the crowd (46:16).  The targeting of protesters is described by one man, “I was informed…that 3 officers were reviewing some photographs, and my pictured happened to be in that paperwork…I wanted to find out from those officers if they had a picture of me and why.  When I went to those officers and asked if they had a picture of me, they said, ‘Maybe…if you want to find out this way we can do it.’  Then they surrounded me, triangled me, and illegally detained me,” (53:35).

Occupy Oakland protesters burn City Hall's flag.

After regrouping at Oscar Grant Plaza, the protesters marched againOakFoSho (the same journalist who filmed the first video) provides amazing footage of the OPD attempting to kettle protesters during the march.  Later, shown at 28:51 in that same video, the OPD made a second, successful attempt to kettle the protesters, this time between 23rd and 24th on Broadway.  Protesters tried to escape through the YMCA, and the OPD proceeded to beat and arrest the marchers (chanting, “Let us go!  Let us leave!”), who had “failed to disperse” from their trap.  While the majority of the hundreds of arrests of the day were being made at the YMCA, a minority of protesters broke into City Hall, damaging and defacing property and burning the American flag.  This bizarre demonstration was carried out by an estimated 50 Occupiers out of the thousands who participated yesterday.

So, Occupy Oakland’s Move-In Day of the Rise Up Festival resulted in over 300 arrests, multiple injuries, property damage, and a great show of the US police state (coming soon to a street near you!).  Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente equated the Occupiers’ actions to “domestic terrorism.”  The media has largely been repeating the the city’s version of events.  Looks like the government will soon be able to put the NDAA into good use- they’re already gearing up for it by targeting specific activists for arrest.  No wonder the Department of Homeland Security is hiring.  The time is finally coming when we realize that all these security measures have been meant not for terrorists, but for us.  Because when we finally resist the robbery of our money, livelihoods, homes, and freedoms, we will be the terrorists.

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