Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Occupy the Bay Bridge!!!

2011-10-26 "Occupy the Bay Bridge: What happened?" from "Northbay Uprising radio news"
During the General Strike of Oakland [2011-11-02], after hearing about the proposed takeover of the Bay Bridge, Dr.G. heard from a few folks that after Veteran for Peace Scott Olson had been shot by Oakland Police [2011-10-25], participants of Occupy Oakland had marched across the Bay Bridge and joined with Occupy San Francisco! The Brooklyn Bridge in New York had successfully been taken over by Occupy Wall Street [despite hundreds eventually being arrested], and it was within the realm of possibility that this could also happen on the Bay Bridge. 
Interestingly, no news article available online mentions explicitly that it happened, either from an indiypendant source or from monopolized media. There are no photographs, or traffic reports, or police reports. However, it happened, and apparently involved at least a few dozen people, perhaps a few hundred, walking along the sides of the lower deck of the Oakland bridge to Yerba Buena island, then to the San Francisco Bridge and onwards to Occupy San Francisco's encampment. The folks who walked across the Bay Bridge were not numerous enough to stop traffic. Instead, groups of 6 or more walked alongside the aisle, which is not wide, and can accommodate only one brave person at a time:

What follows is a compilation of eye-witnesses, including participants of Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland, and video, describing a narrative about what happened when the call came forward to "OCCUPY THE BAY BRIDGE!!!"
Note: the brackets [ ... ] denote when the article has been edited to focus only on statements describing participants who went on to "Occupy the Bay Bridge". Sections highlighted in bold orange denote exact information. The following compilation is listed as chronologically as possible.

2011-10-27 "How Occupy Withstood Police Action"
[Photograph showing the author]

I’ve been visiting Occupy SF every chance I get, over the last couple weeks. Last night was a victory for the fledgling camp.
Occupy SF remains in Justin Herman Plaza today ( - after help from Occupy Oakland (which has retaken the plaza they were gassed out of earlier in the week - removing chain-linked fences, and are now occupying again, peacefully), at least a thousand citizens who showed up to defend the camp, public defenders, and SF mayoral candidates, who arrived on the scene at midnight, when the police planned to break up the camp.
The protesters were diligent in spreading the message to remain peaceful and calm. They were prepared with gas masks and medicine, linked arm-in-arm. The SFPD were spotted, gearing up in multiple vehicles with SWAT gear and handing out flyers to surrounding businesses, preparing them for ‘increased police action.’
However, the media attention and political personas showing up at the plaza made them think twice.
Today, the SFPD claim it was simply a ‘training exercise.’ From everything I saw myself, and heard about, that is total bullshit. They also closed off BART, coming into SF from Oakland, to try and cutoff Occupy Oakland from joining SF in solidarity. However, the people took to the streets and marched across the Bay Bridge anyway.
Technology like Twitter and other forms of social media help us all bear witness to the reality of the growing movement that’s happening all around us. In accurate fashion. I am thankful to be able to share in this movement, with information filtered through sources other than ‘mainstream’ media.
Last nite was an inarguable example of the ongoing threat to and disregard of our constitutional rights.
It was also a shining demonstration of the power of peace and solidarity. When enough is enough, and we keep it up, the Power of the People can effectively oppose forces of injustice.
[ ... ]

2011-10-27 "Live Blog: Occupy Oakland fence `sculpture' getting buzz" by Josh Richman, Matt Krupnick, Ray Chavez, Sean Maher, Hannah Dreier, Robert Salonga and Kristopher Skinner from "Oakland Tribune"
[ ... ]
10:20 p.m.: Protesters move toward BART station -
A group of protesters, many carrying black anarchist flags, are moving toward the BART station, on their way to join colleagues at Occupy San Francisco in Justin Herman Plaza.
10:30 p.m.: Protesters blocked from getting into BART station-
A crowd of protesters has taken over the intersection of 14th and Broadway, upset that they can't get into the 12th Street BART station. Many were trying to get to San Francisco to support colleagues at Occupy San Francisco. So far, thought, the crowd is peaceful.
10:45 p.m. : Crowd marching down Broadway -
The crowd of protesters is moving rapidly down Broadway on their way to the Oakland police station. A line of motorcycle officers is nearby. The crowd has now stopped at 10th Street and appear to be trying to figure out what to do next. Both anarchist and American flags can be seen throughout the crowd.
10:48 p.m. :Protesters chant "Oscar Grant!" "Oscar Grant!" -
Some protesters are trying to climb the scaffolding near the Marriott on 10th Street and Broadway. Some protesters began changing, "Oscar Grant!" "Oscar Grant!" No announcement yet from BART about what it plans to do with its train service. The protesters have reached Seventh and Washington near the police station. Several dozen officers in riot gear have come out the front door.
10:55 p.m.: Protesters shout "freedom for all" -
Protesters stop at North County Jail, shouting "freedom for all," and are now heading toward the federal building. BART has just announced that trains will not stop at the Embarcadero Station and that 12th Street station is open, but the Ogawa Plaza entrance is closed.
11:03 p.m.: More chants -
Some protesters are chanting "Bay Bridge," as the crowd moved up Clay Street toward the federal building. Then the protesters turned from Clay onto 9th in what seemed to be an attempt to outflank police. They appear headed back to Ogawa Plaza. There is no property damage along the route.

2011-10-27 "Watch Live: #Occupy SF Prepares For Raid" by Diane Sweet
[ ... ]
[2011-10-27] 2:56amEST - Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones tweets that 2,000 marchers from Occupy Oakland are considering taking the Bay Bridge to join those at Occupy San Francisco. Hopefully, they'll come to their senses, as there are no sidewalks or railings, and a lot of cars. It could be a disaster. Speaking of disasters, a Bay area news producer has tweeted reports of a 4.8 earthquake in the area that he says shook his newsroom.
[ ... ]

2011-10-27 "Insomnia in Wisconsin, Call for general strike in Oakland" from "blue cheddar (a progressive blog in Wisconsin)
[ ... ]
The notables: the BART train got shut down due to protesting, General Strike is trending nationally, #scottolsen is trending globally, November 2nd seems to be “the date”, and both Oakland and San Francisco are full of marching.
[ ... ]
thomas_peele Thomas Peele: I’m hearing chants of “Bay Bridge” and the crowd is moving up Clay toward the federal building. #OccupyOakland
[ ... ]

2011-10-27 "Oakland Protesters: Take The Bridge!" by "Tx4obam"
With the nearest BART stations closed by authorities, protesters in Oakland marched through downtown with cries to walk across the Bay Bridge to the Occupy San Francisco encampment.
2011-10-26 posted on YouTube by YouTube Member "robinwilkey1" [] Run time: 00:25

 2:02 AM – Today: Bay Bridge Issues Warning To Protesters
"@SFBayBridge : Please be careful. Please! I have no sidewalks, no railings, and a lot of cars! Be safe! #OccupyOakland #OccupySF"
Over at HuffPo they posted The Bridge's warning to the protesters on their Live Blog LOL []

2011-10-27 "As protesters take Bay Bridge, Occupy Oakland protester Scott Olsen seriously injured" by Michael R. Gideon
[ ... ]
Olsen’s injury comes as 2,000 Occupy Oakland protesters prepare to take the Bay Bridge and marching to join Occupy San Francisco. Although the bridge reportedly doesn’t have sidewalks, the protesters are planning to make their move. It’s not clear whether police are going to try to stop them.
[ ... ]

2011-10-27 "For a Radically Democratic Oakland without Cops, Politicians, or Bosses! Oakland on Strike!" by MIKE KING and GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER
Mike is reporting from the ground in Oakland, former Oakland resident George contributed political analysis
[ ... ]
After the General Assembly, well over 1000 protesters boisterously chanted throughout downtown Wednesday night, chasing off small groupings of police with our mere presence.  We were able to stop once and debate taking the Bay Bridge or marching down West Grand.  We never reached an official consensus, but after discussion we organically decided that the bridge would be a trap and had no strategic value at that point.  This was a powerful moment. But it was a luxury created by retreated police force.  We should not always expect to have such time or space.  We can however develop a working “diversity of tactics” based on solidarity and knowing our real enemies.

2011-10-27 "The New Gilded Age in America is upon us..." by Thom Hartmann
Occupy Oakland demonstrator – and Iraq War veteran – Scott Olsen is still in a hospital in serious condition with a fractured skull after being hit in the head with a tear gas canister during Tuesday’s night police assault on Occupy Oakland. In solidarity – demonstrators returned to the streets last night – and this time police left their military tactics at home. The movement marched to San Francisco across the Bay Bridge – with only a few confrontations with police. There are reports that two individuals were arrested.
[ ... ]

2011-10-27 "RE: Occupy Oakland"
08:48 AM comment by "Aalia (User ID: 48867)": Occupy Oakland taking Bay Bridge and marching to San Francisco NOW
08:50 AM comment by "Captain Howdy (User ID: 55896)": Reading on Twitter and the Livsestream chat that the police are blocking the bridge.
08:54 AM comment by "Muse (User ID: 51277)": Police following marchers in Oakland just announced thru loudspeaker that 12th and 19th St. stations are opening up to protestors.
09:18 AM comment by "Captain Howdy (User ID: 55896)": (From Twitter: #OccupySF) Heads up, #OccupySF - 6 buses full of SFPD in tactical gear just departed from 17th/DeHaro. Stay safe out there. Please RT.

2011-10-27 "Occupy Oakland Photo Brings Global Solidarity" by Brenda Norrell
Occupy Oakland filled the streets on Wednesday night, as Occupy San Francisco prepared for arrest with a huge dance party outside, with a California senator and city officials present to ensure the peoples rights were not violated as they were in Oakland the night before.
[ ... ]
To prevent Oakland protesters from joining San Francisco, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) stations were blocked by police in Oakland and closed near Occupy San Francisco, at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
When Occupy Oakland began considering taking the Bay Bridge, BART suddenly announced the stations would be opened again.
[ ... ]
In the midnight hour, Oakland activists began catching rides to San Francisco after BART blocked its doors in Oakland. Eventually, the police raid in San Francisco was called off in the dawn hours of Thursday.
[ ... ]

So, people did actually go forth to "Occupy the Bay Bridge", but it happened away from cameras and it did not stop traffic. And, then, THIS happens...
2011-10-27 "Snapped Cable Shuts Down Bay Bridge"
"“Wtf is happening to the Bay Bridge? Looks like part of it fell off and hit some cars. Blocking 2 lanes wowow." -- via larfo []

After a snapped support cable struck three cars on the upper deck at around 5:45 p.m., the Bay Bridge was shut down in both directions this evening to check the structural integrity, according to ActionNewsSF [].
SFGate reports []: "CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said what appeared to be a cable and a steel bracket fell from the eastern span's overhead steel support structure and onto the upper deck. The parts fell at about 5:30 p.m. Eckhardt said the passengers in one vehicle hit by the falling debris were shaken up but not injured."
Mercury News [], however, says that one person has been injured.
[ ... ]

2011-11-03 "Trades Work Around the Clock to Re-Open Bay Bridge" from "San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council"
Building Trades crews went to extraordinary efforts to repair the Bay Bridge after the recent fix on the cracked eyebar failed, forcing the bridge to close for six days in late October.
[ ... ]
The repair of the Bay Bridge was accomplished by a crew of 30 workers from the Ironworkers, Laborers, Pile Drivers and Operating Engineers unions who worked around the clock for six days after the bridge was closed.
 Crews repaired a brace structure that held in place an eyebar that was found to be cracked during the Labor Day weekend roll-in of a new section of the bridge just east of Yerba Buena Island. That discovery delayed opening of the bridge by about two hours, after the crews installed the special brace around the eyebar to carry the load. On Oct. 27, the 5,000 pound metal structure fell onto the bridge after high winds snapped the metal rods that held it in place. No one was injured in the accident that damaged three cars and ended up closing the bridge for six days. It was the longest closure of the bridge since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake shut it for one month.
 While commuters checked news reports and made alternative plans to get into and out of the City – jamming the regions’ other bridges and increasing ridership on BART to record numbers – construction workers performed the dangerous work high up on the bridge to fit a new brace and new tension rods.
[ ... ]
At a press conference announcing the reopening of the bridge Nov. 2, Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki thanked the crews from general Contractor NCM Construction, Danny’s Construction (DCCI), and Abar, which did the stress testing on the rods when they were replaced.
 “When the eyebar structure crack was discovered on Labor Day weekend, we saw no evidence then or now that the bridge was at risk of failure,” Iwasaki said. “But we know small problems can become big problems so we worked to make sure the problem didn’t become a big one.”
[ ... ]
Iwasaki said the overall goal was to make sure the bridge remains safe. He said that inspectors found that the eyebar crack had not gotten any worse since the Labor Day weekend repair, but one of the tie rods failed as a result of high winds. He said the failure wasn’t a result of bad workmanship or a flaw in the design but showed the difference between controlled tests in a lab and the real conditions where high winds caused movement of the tie rods, which were weakened and ultimately failed as a result of metal rubbing against metal.
[ ... ]

2011-11-06 "Transit riders wooed by Bay Bridge shutdown now seem to be back in their cars" by Thomas Gorman
When the Bay Bridge closed October 27 for an emergency repair, record numbers of commuters began traveling across the bay on buses, ferries, and BART.
[ ... ]
The Alameda/Oakland and Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry services saw ridership double during the six-day closure period– from a typical 1,200 passengers daily, to between 2,500 and 2,600 each weekday last week. Ernest Sanchez, manager of the service, said his company added an extra ferry and ran continuous service all day to handle the extra passengers.
[ ... ]
Clearly, BART absorbed the sizable portion of area commuters who would otherwise drive over the bridge. According to BART’s press releases, customers smashed the previous ridership record on the first full day the bridge was closed, a record only to be broken again on Thursday, when rider numbers hit a new all-time record,  442,000 in single day.
Once the bridge reopened, the BART numbers returned to earth. On Tuesday Nov 3, with the bridge fully reopened, about 40,000 fewer riders used the transit system, compared to the day before.
[ ... ]

The confusion over whether-or-not the closure of the bridge was because of the Occupy Movement continued for days, mainly because people accepted the idea that it would happen...
2011-11-02 "Bay Bridge Occupied"
"Golden Snake": ABC7 reports bay bridge is shut down. []
The people are everywhere like ants! []
"sunshine05": Someone I know was down there today and everyone was released from work early because they feared they would all be stuck downtown.

During the 2011-11-02 Oakland General Strike, Dr.G. had heard about a current action by Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland to stop traffic on the Bay Bridge. There seems to be no word about whether or not the participants knew the Bay Bridge had already been shut down for repairs... 
2011-11-03 "Occupy Oakland: “We shut down the port!” demonstrators say (Ongoing analysis)"
6:10 p.m. - The general strike contingent waits at Seventh Street and Middle Harbor Road. Other marchers are considering taking over the Bay Bridge. The idea results in a police scramble, but doesn’t actually come to fruition. 
 6:30 p.m. - About 15-20 marchers are in line at a taqueria truck inside the port area. Hungry marchers stock up on iced tea and burritos. Meanwhile, there’s a report 300 cops are at West Grand, guarding the freeway entrance.
 7:10 p.m. - About 20-25 cops and several vehicles remain at West Grand, near the freeway entrance. No marchers are attempting to move onto the freeway, and eventually the cops leave.
 8:25 p.m. - A line of bored CHP cops protect the I-880 on-ramp. The cops are polite, helping marchers cross the intersection.

2011-11-02 "Long Live the Oakland Commune!"
[ ... ]
6:38- rumors flying here at ports that occupysf is blocking bay bridge
6:49- clarification, there are several berths we’re blocking in order to convince officials that ILWU workers can’t work.
6:54- speaker is addressing crowd at berth 55 and 56 that the cops we keep hearing rumors about are probably ca highway patrol concerned about folks taking over bay bridge not the ports. Furthermore speaker explains we need to wait at each berth until the union arbitor comes and comfirms that workers are blocked from entry.
[ ... ]

2011-11-02 "Oakland Occupied; Bay Bridge Next?" by Geov Parrish
Looks like it might be a long night in the Bay Area. After a day-long, city-wide general strike in which waves of Occupy Oakland protesters shut down various banks in downtown Oakland, a crowd estimated at up to 20,000 has shut down the Port of Oakland, the country's fifth-busiest port. There are now reports that OccupySF is simultaneously attempting to block the Bay Bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco.
[ ... ]

Of course, you can't let a good idea down...
2011-11-27 "Occupy Oakland Leader Declares Bay Bridge To Be Shut Down New Years Day"
Occupy Oakland has a group of individuals that calls themselves the Tactical Action Committee, and they are behind the anti-foreclosure actions at 18th and Linden in West Oakland, California. Unfortunately, while they were granted permission to “occupy” the lawn by the homeowner, she later changed her mind because of outside pressure. The group, while continuing to offer foreclosure assistance (They can be reached at 510-282-1121 or 415-290-5102) has plans to take their actions further.
While many around the country question the leadership of the Occupy Movement, I look to Julian here in this video hilight (you may need to reset or click on the timeline to see the 50 second clip), and see a man who could usher Occupy Oakland into the New Year with an informed and representative voice.
Also, a clear leader that I will only refer to here as V, (because I do not know if this person wishes their identity to be disclosed) has been the driving force behind the West Coast Port Shut Down action scheduled for December 12, 2011. With this person’s ability to orate, organize, and their passion for revolution, there is absolutely no telling how strong Occupy Oakland could grow.

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