By Cami Graves
January 7, 2012
Tonight the Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee called for a rally and march to protest police repression of Occupy Oakland. Protestors met at Oscar Grant Plaza at 7pm. Some wore black–a tactic called “black bloc” to help keep cops from distinguishing demonstrators and picking them out of the crowd–while others brought bubbles to make their nonviolent intentions clear.
At 9pm, the marchers headed to the Oakland PD headquarters at 7th and Broadway where they were met by a line of officers with batons and three officers in tactical gear guarding the building. At least two dozen cruisers, unmarked cop cars, and police vans also circled the area. Marchers circled the block before heading back to 14th and Broadway, but on the way, some in the crowd threw bottles.
Many protestors shouted for the bottle-throwing to stop (and there are some accusations that those throwing the bottles were provocateurs). Police rushed the protestors, and several people went down as marchers and cops sprinted down Broadway. Protestors were beaten with batons, punched, and dragged on the ground, and one non-lethal round was fired, hitting a man in the face. Six were arrested. Police also briefly kettled about 30-50 protestors on 9th St. between Washington and Broadway before ordering them to disperse, citing “unlawful assembly.”
A few minutes later, a group of OPD chased a lone figure, continuing to hunt for him for a while after they lost him, even stopping a BART train to search it. Both protestors and OPD returned to OGP and presence of both groups remained substantial, though no further altercations have been reported as of this writing.
A press release posted by “OaklandCommune” on bayofrage.com publicizing the Fuck the Police march states:
The City of Oakland is a war zone. The politicians, chamber of commerce, large scaleproperty owners and Oakland Police Department daily work together to make our livesa living hell. Between the inflated rents, unemployment and consistent indiscriminate police violence there is not a day where the social forces that surround us do not attack the very foundations of our lives. Recently over the past weeks those who have actively participated in Occupy Oakland have been the targets of the OPD. At the vigil in Oscar Grant Plaza as well as in new occupations across the city, the OPD has coordinated a brutal campaign of repression and intimidation using counterinsurgency tactics such as targeted hit and run snatch squads. This is clearly an attempt to undermine the resurgence of the Oakland Commune in the new year. Dozens have been arrested these past weeks and many of them are still sitting in Santa Rita facing daily harassment and brutality at the hands of the Alameda Sheriffs.
This is a direct assault on comrades trying to change this hell we live in. This is a direct attack on people self organizing to take our city back into our own hands. This is coordinated police activity to destroy the Oakland Commune.
This is war.
This Saturday January 7th a 8pm meet at Oscar Grant Plaza at 14th and Broadway. We will march on the police and show them that we are capable of defending the commune and that we will not rest until all our comrades are once again running with us in the streets.
FREE ALL OCCUPY OAKLAND POLITICAL PRISONERS!
LONG LIVE THE OAKLAND COMMUNE!
FUCK THE OPD.
OPD has been harassing Occupy Oakland since our inception in October, but in the past weeks the number of pointless arrests and daily raids have overwhelmed Occupants as we’ve seen countless friends and loved ones carted away for no reason. To make matters worse, OPD seems to be specifically targeting African American men and people who watch and record OPD activity.
Laleh, who was arrested on the night of the 4th, points out that if authorities can capture individuals who may have other charges against them, they can keep them longer and make their charges more serious, thus disrupting their ability to organize–hence the targeting of African American men. Our brother Khali, arrested on December 16th for trying to reclaim his blanket when cops were closing in, has been held for three weeks and may face life imprisonment under California’s 3 strikes law. Khali has prior felonies and has now been accused of assaulting a peace officer in jail while his psychiatric medication was being withheld; basically, Khali’s third strike results from his attempt to do good work in his community and positively engage in a political movement.
Occupy Oakland media team members Adam and Stephanie are examples of people who were arrested while complying with police orders, but we have a feeling their detainment had nothing to do with “obstructing pathways.”
You can find articles about the numerous arrests made in Oscar Grant Plaza and the ridiculous charges against protestors elsewhere on this site, as well as on hellaoccupyoakland.org, hyphenatedrepublic.wordpress.com, occupiedoaktrib.org, bayofrage.com, and other independent news outlets… But you won’t find this information in the mainstream media.
The Anti-Repression/ Fuck the Police march was a direct response to police harassment of Occupy Oakland and the silencing of our free speech. They created this hostile atmosphere, and they are the ones who perpetuate it–a reality we saw replayed tonight when protestors were chased, beaten, and arrested in response to the antics of a couple of people hidden in the crowd.
Please help us spread the word about police repression of Occupy Oakland! This has to stop! Tell your friends and family, and call Mayor Jean Quan, the DA, the city administrator, and Police Chief Howard Jordan to demand a stop to the harassment of activists while others in Oakland require police assistance!
Numbers to call:
Mayor Jean Quan 510-238-3141
DA Nancy O’malley 510-272-6222
City Administrator Deanna Santana 510-238-3301
Police Chief Howard Jordan-510-238-3076
You can also attend Khali’s arraignment Monday at 9am at Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton. Wear his favorite color RED to show how much you care!
Stay updated with the Tactical Action Committee at @OccupytheMOB on Twitter to learn more about future actions and the weekly Anti-Repression/ Fuck the Police march.