CQB, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day: Oakland Police Officers move in with "non-lethal" ammunition. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
We are the Citizens of Oakland, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
2012-01-29 "What really happened at Occupy Oakland on Saturday January 28 - Read my firsthand account, not the news. Please Spread" by baked420
For the internet, here's a first-hand account of Occupy Oakland on 1/28/2012, because the news never tells the full story. I'll tell you about the street battle, the 300+ arrests, the vandalism, the flag burning, all in the context of my experience today. This is deeper than the headlines. No major news source can do that for you.
The stated goal for the day was to "move-in" to a large, abandoned, building to turn it into a social and political center. It is a long vacant convention center - the only people ever near there are the homeless who use the space outside the building as a bed. The building occupation also draws attention to the large number of abandoned and unused buildings in Oakland. The day started with a rally and a march to the proposed building. The police knew which building was the target, surrounded it, and used highly mobile units to try and divert the protest. After avoiding police lines, the group made it to one side of the building. Now, this is a very large building, and we were on a road with construction fences on both sides, and a large ditch separating us from the cops. The police fired smoke grenades into the crowd as the group neared a small path around the ditch, towards the building. They declared an unlawful assembly, and this is when the crowd broke down the construction fence. A few people broke fences to escape the situation, others because they were pissed. A couple more fences were taken down then necessary, but no valuable equipment was destroyed. They only things broken were fences.
The crowd decided to continue moving, and walked up the block to a more regular street. We decided to turn left up the street, and a police line formed to stop the march. They again declared an unlawful assembly. The protesters challenged the line, marching towards the police with our own shields in front. The shields, some small and black and a few large metal sheets. The police fired tear-gas as the group approached, and shot less-than-lethal rounds at the crowd. The protesters returned one volley of firecrackers, small projectiles, and funny things like balloons. A very weak attack, 3 officers may have been hit by something but none of them got injured. Tear gas forced many people back. The protesters quickly regrouped, and pressed the line again. This time the police opened fire with flash-grenades, tear gas, paint-filled beanbag shotguns, and rubber bullets.
After the police fired heavily on the protesters, they pushed their line forward and made a few arrests. The protesters regrouped down the block and began to march the other way (followed by police), back to Oscar Grant Plaza.
All of this occurred during the day, but it was that street battle that set the tone for the police response later in the evening. After taking a break in Oscar Grant Plaza, feeding everyone and resting, the group headed out for their evening march. Around 5pm, the group took to the street at 14th and Broadway and began a First-amendment sanctioned march around the city. The police response was very aggressive.
About 15 minutes into the march, the police attempted to kettle the protesters. This march was entirely non-violent; nobody threw shit at the cops and an unlawful assembly was never declared. . This is a very important detail. The march was 1000+ strong, conservatively. The police were very mobile, using 25+ rented 10seater vans to bring the 'troops' to the march.
For their first attempt at a kettle, the cops charged the group with police lines from the front and back. They ran towards us aggressively. Us being 1000+ peaceful marching protesters. The group was forced to move up a side street. The police moved quickly to surround the entire area; they formed a line on every street that the side street connected to. Police state status: very efficient. They kettled almost the entire protest in the park near the Fox theater. AFTERWARDS, as in after they surrounded everyone, they declared it to be an unlawful assembly BUT OFFERED NO EXIT ROUTE. Gas was used, could of been tear or smoke gas.
The crowd then broke down a fence that was on one side of the kettle, and 1000 people ran across a field escaping a police kettle and embarrassing the entire police force. It was literally a massive jailbreak from a kettle. The group re-took Telegraph ave. and left the police way behind.
At this point, I was on edge because I knew the police were not fucking around tonight. Because of the incident earlier in the day, I realized they were effectively treating the peaceful march as a riot. There was not rioting, or intentions to riot, just dancing, optimism, hope, and walking. But clearly the police thought differently, and I knew they would try to trap us again without warning. From the moment I saw riot police running towards are march from both directions, I knew the constitution would not apply in Oakland tonight. The police made that very clear. My friends thought differently, thinking that they would not be arrested for marching. They are currently in jail.
The second, and successful, kettle occurred as the protest was headed back up Broadway, at Broadway and 24th. Again, the police appeared quickly in front of the crowd, as well as a line behind the crowd. This time there was no side street. A few people attempted to escape into the YMCA; some mis-infonformed news reports claim that the YMCA got 'occupied'. Around 300 people were trapped, mostly young people. At this point I had fallen behind the line of riot police in back of the crowd, and when the kettle was sprung I was on the other side of the police line. I have a policy of avoiding arrest, but I feel like I've been striped of some dignity. I've seen some shit go down in oaktown, but I've always avoided arrest because it was easy. Most mass arrests occur when people choose to break the law (like occupying Bank of America in downtown SF and pitching a tent to send a statement to UC Regent Monica Lozano on BofA's board - respect). At 'unlawfully assemblies', people are usually extracted by a quick attack of 5+ cops, and their often 'targets' (previously-identified and profiled protesters). If the crowd is too large, they use tear-gas.
Tonight was different. When I fell behind the group, I knew they were going to arrest a very large number of peaceful protesters without declaring an unlawful assembly at the location. And then they did. I thought this shit was reserved for G20's and WTO meetings. I felt shame for being intimidated away from my rights. 'Unlawful assemblies' feel like a boot stomp on the first amendment, but this was like them wiping their ass with the constitution and force feeding it to me.
300+ were arrested, corralled below the YMCA @ 23rd and Broadway. The only announcement that was made was one I've never heard before: "You are under arrest. Submit to your arrest."
The 300 protesters were then arrested, one by one. They were ziptied and sat in rows while they waited to be processed. OPD set up an entire processing station behind police lines, where they searched and identified every protester. They were slowly loaded onto buses, including local public AC transit buses. This took about 4 or 5 hours.
Outside the police lines, things were still happening. A group that escaped the trap decided to head back to Oscar Grant Plaza. I do not know how, but they opened the front door to city hall and occupied the building. Opened, as in no window smashing. The move was not meant to be an occupation but more of a show of solidarity to the 300 arrested protesters down the street. When all the people being arrested heard the news, they let out a big cheer...
...At this point I ran to Oscar Grant Plaza. When I arrived there were only 8 riot cops guarding the open front door, but more arrived very quickly. No one was inside the building anymore, but many had gathered in the Plaza. Someone burned an American Flag in front of city hall. I've seen the same guy do it before; frankly he's weird and it's kind of his thing.
One thing to note is the police arrested the wrong part of the protest. Most people arrested were young peaceful types. Aggressive protesters, and anyone with a record, are usually very good at avoiding arrest. Point being, back at the plaza opportunists began their work. I saw some young 'jugalos' spray-painting a wall with "jugalos for life" shit and then take photos next to it. They were just young and stupid kids; some good protesters cleaned it up later in the night. Some CBS and FOX news crews forced to leave the scene, with people spanking their van. They had already gotten the footage of someone burning an American Flag in front of city hall, so their work was done. The crowd was angry about what happened, and milling around the plaza and downtown area. At one point, the first of the 9 busloads of protesters drove past 14th and Broadway. People cheered for the ones inside, and chased it down, slamming on the sides of the bus. None of the other buses came past the plaza. There is about 30 police in the immediate area, 20 in front of city hall and 10 near 14th and broadway. Clearly they were stretched thin, and did not expect the city hall incident. Mutual aid been called it; I saw cops from Oakland, Alameda County Sheriff, Pleasanton, and Berkeley.
I walked back down to the 300 arrests in progress to try and get some information or spot my friends, but all I could do was wait and watch from behind the police line. My phone died. Not much happened, a lot of waiting and talking with people who also had friends on the other side. People included one French women who talked about how in France this would never be tolerated, and a teacher of one of Oakland's 10 schools being closed who was out on his birthday 'for the kids'. Eventually, I decided I needed to charge my phone, get on the internet, and figure out where and when my friends will be released. Siting down on BART was great after a long day of walking.
I got home and viewed OakfoSho and PunkboyinSf on Ustream to stay posted. OakFoSho filmed the entire arrest from above, I was able to look for my friends from his stream. All props to that guy. I saw that with the new development at Oscar Grant Plaza, they had to call in mutual aid from San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo. They declared the 14th and Broadway an unlawful assembly and slowly dispersed the dwindling crowd. No tear gas this time!
Now that this incident is on-record, I'm gonna get a little sleep, then go pick up my friends from jail.
[Photograph extracted by the Northbay Uprising radio news collective from video posted following this story on the Nortbay Uprising news blog]
The thing about Occupy, and especially Occupy Oakland, is it refuses to exclude. We are the 99%, and we mean it. The homeless and disenfranchised were welcome in the camp from day 1. The crime rate in Downtown Oakland went down, and some people finally had a safe place to sleep. Idealistic youth, google techies, students, teachers, parents, children, poor, homeless, workers, all coming together. It rekindled hope for a lot of people. Occupy changed the conversation. The idea is more important than any one protest. An idea cannot be stopped. It is no longer about occupations; instead, it's about bringing people together. The 99%, all with their own problems and concerns, have brought their collective attention to the root of the forces preventing them from making a better world.
A lot of the people arrested today were my peers...a lot of young people and students. For us, the occupy movement can't be diminished or co-opted...it's bigger than occupy. I will seek the changes I marched for tonight until I win or die. It is the task of my generation, worldwide, to return power to the people. Governments around the world are quickly realizing that our generation will not back down. This is bigger than 'occupy', this is bigger than one country, one problem, or one protest. The people want their world back. We are fighting for our future, and we are winning.
Edit: Forgot to add this context - The Oakland PD will soon be taken over by the Feds because of their poor conduct and inability to change: [http://www.baycitizen.org/policing/story/judge-strips-power-oakland-police]
Comment to the preceding article left by "Anonymous" Jan 29, 2012 12:59 PM:
OO has been marginalizing Oakland residents since they decided not to adopt principles of non-violence, and went further to boo those proponents off the stage at a General Assembly. They have derided those who wish to see a nonviolent position adopted as "Peace Police". converseley, the anarchist contingent got their feelings hurt by people who disagreed with their "diversity of tactics" position and threatenened to leave and OO bent over backwards to make sure they had a voice and felt welcomed.
OO has ostracized people who I would characterize as more mature, rational and who understand that vandalism and destruction hurt the cause (not just of OO but OWS and all the other occupy movements).
Additionally the entire focus now is on combatting OPD. Internally they get constantly bogged down on ridiculous PC discussions of race, gender, and ethnicity. (These discussions start out as attempts to be intellectual/philsophical and then quickly devolve into who has the biggest victimhood/chip on their shoulder.)
Let OO be the cautionary tale for the rest of the movement on what NOT to do:
- marginalize the voices that actually more closely represent the 99%
- destroy your own city in the name of lashing out at the 1%.... I mean there is NO reason for vandalism, it accomplishes ONLY pissing people off
- focus your entire attention on "the pigs" - because that goes over so well with regular folks.
- fight amongst each other over perceived differences because you have NO UNIFIED goal holding you together.
A perfect storm for an organizational disaster and failure of a social movement.
And while I think OPD is a hot mess of overreactionary thugs and corruption, this does not excuse OO for being the very agents of their own demise.
"Occupy Oakland January 28, 2012 - Police Brutality" posted to "Youtube.com" by brettnchls
My camera was continuously rolling, I missed some things but got a lot. I edited it down to try and show all that is necessary to see. The action to take the Henry J Kaiser building started peaceful. The police diverted our route but the march continued toward the building. A fence was torn down in an attempt to take the building and the police fired tear gas. I did not leave out parts where protesters threw things (including the tear gas canisters that were fired upon them). The point was that the police responded with violence to the destruction of a fence. The protesters naturally reacted to this. Since the ability to take the building was stopped by the police, the march moved on (there was chatter of taking other buildings or approaching the building from the other side. I am not clear as to what the plan was). The police stopped the march in its tracks. I was filming the two sides in between them and had the first flash bang grenade shot at me which can be seen exploding at my feet in the video. It put me into a state of shock basically and I was pretty jumpy filming the rest (not to mention all of the tear gas I was breathing). The police responded with violence first in this standoff again. Rubber bullets, tear gas, smoke bombs and flash bang grenades were shot, the protesters retreated. Then the protesters approached again and the process basically repeated itself. During the second approach a young woman was being protected by the crowd and more flash bang grenades were shot at the protesters. From there, the march moved (maybe more accurately forced by the police. I missed another standoff involving clubbing with batons and more tear gas) to Oscar Grant Plaza. A lot more happened at night but since I was not there, you can consult other sources to get the rest of the story.
"The Police Tank roaming the streets of Oakland towards the protesters..." posted to Youtube.com by pcmahovideo
2012-01-29 "#OPD Kettles Occupy Oakland Protesters Into the YMCA! #J28 #MoveInDay" posted to Youtube.com by pfailblog
On January 28, Occupy Oakland's move in day, OPD repeatedly used unnecessary force against protesters. Their lack of organization, training, & humanity created chaos throughout the day and into the night.
In this clip you can see that OPD has kettled hundreds of people, leaving us with no where to go. In order to get a better view I climbed the steps leading up to the YMCA. Once there it became clear that the police were moving in on both sides, so a few of us asked the employees inside the YMCA to help us by letting us in. After a couple minutes they opened the doors and invited the hundreds of people out in the street into their building, to escape the violent OPD actions.
I was one of the few to make it all the way through the building and out the back door. Unfortunately up to 200 others were trapped inside and arrested.
2012-01-28 "Oakland Move In day -- hundreds getting arrested RIGHT NOW"
After folks attempted to occupy a building to create a social center in Oakland today, the cops are mass arresting hundreds of people. Seems like at least 300 people.
One of my friends texted me saying she is getting arrested for felony burglary in front of YMCA. We've been watching live streams all evening and there was NO burglary. Folks don't think there is enough space in Oakland to house everyone, so seems like no one knows where they will take people. I hope folks are cited and released.
See this short documentary on OO by movement videographer/filmmaker Brandon Jourdan:[www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Poo4Mso3sE]
RT on [Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RTnews]
RT on [Twitter: http://twitter.com/RT_com]Police in Oakland, California, have used tear-gas and flash-grenades as a 2,000-strong Occupy Oakland march turned violent, with some protesters claiming that rubber bullets had been also fired into the crowd. At least 300 people were arrested, police say.
The demonstrators attempted to take over a vacant building to use as their headquarters. As they began tearing down perimeter fences around the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, police declared an unlawful assembly and used force, according to the Oakland Tribune newspaper.
2012-01-29 "Oakland Police Violate their Own Policies" by Scott of the "Occupy Oakland Media Committee"
[510-473-6250] [firstname.lastname@example.org] [http://hellaoccupyoakland.org]
January 29, 2011 – Oakland, CA – Yesterday, the Oakland Police deployed hundreds of officers in riot gear so as to prevent Occupy Oakland from putting a vacant building to better use. This is a building which has sat vacant for 6 years, and the city has no current plans for it. The Occupy Oakland GA passed a proposal calling for the space to be turned into a social center, convergence center and headquarters of the Occupy Oakland movement.
The police actions tonight cost the city of Oakland hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they repeatedly violated their own crowd control guidelines and protester’s civil rights.
With all the problems in our city, should preventing activists from putting a vacant building to better use be their highest priority? Was it worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent?
The OPD is facing receivership based on actions by police in the past, and they have apparently learned nothing since October. On October 25, Occupiers rushed to the aid of Scott Olsen who was shot in the head by police, and the good Samaritans who rushed to his aid had a grenade thrown at them by police. At 3:30pm this afternoon, OO medics yet again ran to the aid of injured protesters lying on the ground. Other occupiers ran forward and used shields to protect the medic and injured man. The police then repeatedly fired less lethal rounds at these people trying to protect and help an injured man.
Around the same time, officers #419, #327, and others were swinging batons at protesters in a violation of OPD crowd control policy, which allows for pushing or jabbing with batons, but not the swinging of them.
In the evening, police illegally kettled and arrested hundreds of protesters. Police can give notices to disperse, if a group is engaged in illegal activity. However, if the group disperses and reassembles somewhere else, they are required to give another notice to disperse. Tonight, they kettled a march in progress, and arrested hundreds for refusing to disperse. Contrary to their own policy, the OPD gave no option of leaving or instruction on how to depart. These arrests are completely illegal, and this will probably result in another class action lawsuit against the OPD, who have already cost Oakland $58 million in lawsuits over the past 10 years.
OPD Crowd Control Policy: “If after a crowd disperses pursuant to a declaration of unlawful assembly and subsequently participants assemble at a different geographic location where the participants are engaged in non-violent and lawful First Amendment activity, such an assembly cannot be dispersed unless it has been determined that it is an unlawful assembly and the required official declaration has been adequately given.”
“The announcements shall also specify adequate egress or escape routes. Whenever possible, a minimum of two escape/egress routes shall be identified and announced.”
“When the only violation present is unlawful assembly, the crowd should be given an opportunity to disperse rather than face arrest.”
At least 4 journalists were arrested in this kettling. They include Susie Cagle, Kristen Hanes, Vivian Ho who were arrested and then released, and Gavin Aronsen who was taken to jail.
One woman was in terrible pain from the cuffs. Dozens of fellow arrestees shouted at the OPD to check her cuffs. But, contrary to their own policy, the OPD refused and simply threw her in a paddy wagon.
OPD Crowd Control Policy: “Officers should be cognizant that flex-cuffs may tighten when arrestees’ hands swell or move … When arrestees complain of pain from overly tight flex cuffs, members shall examine the cuffs to ensure proper fit”
Numerous protesters were injured: some shot with “less lethal” rounds, some affected by tear gas, and some beaten by police batons. There are no totals yet for the numbers of protesters injured. One 19 year old woman was taken to the hospital with internal bleeding after she was beaten by Officer #119.
Cathy Jones, an attorney with the NLG gave the following statement to Occupy Oakland’s media team: “Through everything that has happened since September, from Occupy to the acceleration of “Bills” — NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA — never have I felt so helpless and enraged as I do tonight. These kids are heroes, and the rest of the country needs to open its collective eyes and grab what remains of its civil rights, because they are evaporating, quickly. Do you want to know what a police state looks like? Well, you sure as hell still do not know unless you were watching our citizen journalists.”
Today, Occupy Oakland events continue all day with a festival in Oscar Grant (Frank Ogawa) Plaza:
Occupy Oakland is an emerging social movement without leaders or spokespersons. It is in solidarity with occupations currently occurring around the world in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Oakland Media is a committee of Occupy Oakland, established by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly.
2012-01-29 "Police fire tear gas at Oakland, 200 arrested" by Laird Harrison and Emmett Burg
(Reuters) - Riot police fought running skirmishes with anti-Wall Street protesters on Saturday, firing tear gas and bean bag projectiles and arresting more than 200 people in clashes that injured three officers and at least one demonstrator.
Three police officers and one protester were injured during the clashes, the city said, without detailing their conditions. Internet broadcasts by activists showed several demonstrators being treated by paramedics or loaded into ambulances.
The scuffles erupted in the afternoon as activists from the Occupy movement sought to take over a shuttered downtown convention center, sparking cat-and-mouse battles that lasted well into the night in a city that has seen tensions between police and protesters boil over repeatedly.
"Occupy Oakland has got to stop using Oakland as its playground," Mayor Jean Quan, who has come under criticism for the city's handling of the Occupy movement, said at a late evening press conference.
"Once again, a violent splinter group of the Occupy movement is engaging in violent actions against Oakland," she said, speaking as officers in riot gear were still lined up against demonstrators in downtown intersections.
City Council President Larry Reid said a group of protesters broke into City Hall, damaging exhibits and burning a U.S. flag.
Occupy Oakland organizers had earlier vowed to take over the apparently empty downtown convention center to establish a headquarters, hoping to revitalize a movement against economic inequality that lost momentum after police cleared protest camps from cities across the country late last year.
They also hoped to draw attention to homelessness in the attempted building takeover, seen as a challenge to authorities who have blocked similar efforts before.
A police spokesman said more than 200 people had been arrested during the day following altercations that began when activists tried to tear down a chain-link fence surrounding the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.
"The 1 percent have all these empty buildings, and meanwhile there are all these homeless people," protester Omar Yassin said.
'IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES'
Police in riot gear moved in, firing smoke grenades, tear gas and bean-bag projectiles to drive the crowd back.
"Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," the Oakland Police Department said in a statement. "Oakland Police Department deployed smoke and tear gas."
Some activists, carrying shields made of plastic garbage cans and corrugated metal, tried to circumvent the police line, and surged toward police on another side of the building as more smoke canisters were fired.
"The city of Oakland welcomes peaceful forms of assembly and freedom of speech but acts of violence, property destruction and overnight lodging will not be tolerated," police said in a statement.
Hundreds of demonstrators regrouped and marched through downtown Oakland, where they were repeatedly confronted by police in riot gear. Police at several points fired flash-bang grenades into the crowd and swung batons at protesters.
A group of demonstrators ultimately made their way to City Hall, where they brought out a U.S. flag and set it on fire before scattering ahead of advancing officers.
Several hundred people remained in the streets well after dark, facing off against lines of riot police holding batons who demonstrators sometimes taunted as "pigs."
Protesters in Oakland loosely affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last year have repeatedly clashed with police during a series of marches and demonstrations.
Elsewhere, the National Park Service said on Friday it would bar Occupy protesters in the nation's capital, one of the few big cities where Occupy encampments survive, from camping in two parks where they have been living since October.
That order, which takes effect on Monday, was seen as a blow to one of the highest-profile chapters of the movement.
Occupy Oakland demonstrators shield themselves from an exploding tear gas grenade during a confrontation with the police near the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California January 28, 2012. [REUTERS/Stephen Lam]
2012-01-29 "Oakland police, Occupy protesters clash - scores arrested" by David R. Baker,Vivian Ho from "San Francisco Chronicle"
(01-29) 10:09 PST OAKLAND -- Oakland police on Saturday fired tear gas and flash grenades at hundreds of Occupy supporters who tried to seize the long-closed Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center as their movement's new home. Nearly 400 people were arrested, police said.
Skirmishes between police in riot gear and demonstrators throwing paint cans and bottles erupted after a peaceful march that brought more than 1,000 of the young movement's supporters to downtown Oakland.
The situation remained fluid well after dark, with police and demonstrators facing off on the downtown's otherwise empty streets. At one point, protesters broke into City Hall and vandalized the ground floor, overturning a model of the city and damaging an exhibit of children's art.
Three officers suffered minor injuries. One woman was shot in the back at point-blank range with a beanbag gun and was hurried away by fellow demonstrators, her condition unknown. Oakland police called for reinforcements from nearby law enforcement agencies.
The violence brought a chaotic end to an afternoon that had started on an upbeat, even festive mood among supporters of Occupy, the nationwide movement that has refocused public attention on economic inequality. The confrontations and vandalism also brought an angry response from Oakland officials, who indicated they would press charges against all those arrested.
"Young people, think about your tactics," Mayor Jean Quan said at a news conference Saturday night. "Think about who you're hurting. Oakland is not your playground."
Plan to take building -
Organizers of Occupy Oakland had announced last week that they planned to seize an empty building as their new base and community center, calling the public use of vacant buildings a new direction for the movement. After a brief lunchtime rally Saturday at Frank Ogawa Plaza, more than 1,000 Occupy supporters, accompanied by a small marching band, poured down Broadway, filling the street with banners.
Most marchers had no idea where they were going, because organizers kept secret the building they planned to seize. Some people brought their children. Many brought their dogs.
But Oakland has been the scene of some of the most violent confrontations in the Occupy movement, and the memories of those clashes with police resonated through the rally and march.
"We've got to be careful and thoughtful in what we do, because repression is their business," Gerald Smith, one of the organizers, told the rally. "They live in fear of this occupation."
Mayor warned Occupy -
Quan had warned Occupy not to try to seize a building, saying police would not tolerate any attempt to break the law. Tensions rose as marchers arrived at the convention center, shuttered for years, and began tearing down fences around the facility, which sits just south of Lake Merritt, near Laney College.
Police ordered marchers to disperse after someone in the crowd threw what appeared to be a smoke bomb at the officers. The marchers refused, touching off the first of several confrontations between police and protesters carrying plastic shields.
"If the cops are willing to defend property over people, I think that shows where the city's priorities are," said Carla Orendorff, 23, a student at UC Davis.
Police pushed the crowd back down 12th Street toward the city's core, and eventually the demonstrators ended where they had begun - back at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
"I feel like today was sort of a stalemate," said Mike Wagner, 22, whose eyes were still watering from the tear gas. "It's time we started getting more creative, but how do we create lasting infrastructure when we're faced with this army that's being used against the American people?"
Their numbers smaller than before, the marchers set out from the plaza for a second time after dark, heading north. Organizers told the crowd earlier in the day that they had picked out a second building to target, if they failed to take the first. But it was unclear exactly where the group was headed.
At one point, around 6:30 p.m., police cornered marchers near the YMCA at 24th and Broadway, and some of the protesters burst into the building, surprising people working out in the gym. Laura Wong of Oakland said she was familiar with Occupy.
"I just didn't expect it when I was on the treadmill," said Wong, 28, after police escorted her and other patrons out of the building. "It was kind of intimidating seeing a whole bunch of police in riot gear."
Nineteen people were arrested earlier in the day, and dozens more were taken into custody outside the YMCA, police said.
Omar Yassin, an Occupy Oakland activist, said police fired tear gas directly into the crowds and roughed up a number of the people arrested outside the YMCA.
"They were tossing flash-bangs directly at people," the Oakland resident said. "It was pretty intense."
Protests continue today -
The protesters planned to return to the plaza todayfor a scheduled "Oakland Rise Up Festival," with speakers, music and workshops.
Police had kept a low profile during the midday rally that preceded the march.
Speakers at the rally exhorted the crowd to fight economic inequality. The first speaker, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, took perhaps the most pointed stance, urging the crowd to fight the rich.
"Passionate, organized hatred is the element missing in all that we do to try to change the world," said Ortiz, a retired professor from Cal State East Bay. "Now is the time to spread hate, hatred for the rich."
Not all of the demonstrators were as militant. In keeping with the Occupy movement's brief history, the people gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza for the rally represented a wide variety of views. But they shared a concern about rising income inequality and economic struggle. And several said they were pleased that the Occupy movement had focused public attention and debate on those issues.
"The fact that everyone now talks about the 99 percent, the 1 percent - that shows Occupy's won," said Carter Lavin, 23, of San Francisco. "The debate was about debt, not jobs. Now it's about jobs."With plans to take over a vacant building, Occupy Oakland spokesman Leo Ritz-Barr said the action "signals a new direction for the Occupy movement: putting vacant buildings at the service of the community."Ritz-Barr said there will be a two-day party at the seized building that will be called the "Oakland Rise Up Festival" and will include special events, speakers, music and workshops.
We Are The Many, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day: A crowd of approximately 1,200 Oakland Natives and some from other parts of the bay area take to Oakland's streets. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople". (This photo was taken on January 28, 2012 in Civic Center, Oakland, CA, US.)
War Is Over, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople"
Show Some Love, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Occupy Everywhere, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Liberate the Commons, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
"commons" = the commonwealth. the definition of "commonwealth" expanded from its original sense of "public welfare" or "commonweal" to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state."
Don't Stand Join Occupy, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople"
Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople"
Protect the Person Behind You, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople"
Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople"
No Fear, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Keep Calm & Occupy, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Anonymous, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Protesters with Occupy Oakland march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Let Us In, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Protesters break down fences in front of the Kaiser Convention Center, as protesters with Occupy Oakland march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Oakland police deploy smoke to stop protesters with Occupy Oakland from entering the Kaiser Convention Center, as they march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012.
Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Occupy Oakland protesters march through downtown Oakland with plans to take over a vacant building.
Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
What the shields instructed the protesters to do in case the Oakland Police began attempting to murder the protesters.
Oakland police block off 10th street near Laney Collge to stop protesters with Occupy Oakland as they march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
OPD, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Occupy Oakland protesters take cover behind plastic shields after police fired non-lethal weapons near Oak and 10th Streets in Oakland, Calif., Jan. 28, 2012. Photo: Erik Verduzco from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
The Calm Before the Storm, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Obey, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Protester with Occupy Oakland are hit with smoke and tear gas by Oakland Police on Oak and 10th streets, as they march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Oakland police deploy smoke and tear gas on Oak St. near 10th St. to stop protesters with Occupy Oakland as they march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
A protesters throws back a can of smoke that Oakland police officers fired at protesters after refusing to disperse near Laney College in Oakland, Calif., Jan. 28, 2012. Photo: Erik Verduzco from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Oakland police officers illegally arrest a journalist.
Protesters break down fences in front of the Kaiser Convention Center, as protesters with Occupy Oakland march through the streets of downtown in Oakland, Ca. on Saturday January 28, 2012. Photo: Michael Macor from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
Back Up, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day. Police and protesters clash. An Oakland Police Officer (#419) with a baton in hand advances towards Occupiers and aggressively rip the shield from their hands. Photo by Glenn Halog from "glennshootspeople".
Chemical Agents, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day: After kettling protesters into an intersection Oakland Police Department move in and make more arrests amidst the chemical agents.
Occupy Oakland protesters work together to set fire to an American flag after taking it from inside City Hall.
Photo: Erik Verduzco from "The San Francisco Chronicle"
2012-01-29 "Occupy Oakland: A Fitting Name?" from "Positive Peace Warrior Network"
This is not meant to be an open condemnation of everyone who is organizing under the umbrella of “Occupy Oakland.” That’s a big umbrella, and there is a lot of work happening under it that I support (shout-outs to Occupy the Hood, Decolonize, Occupy San Quentin, the East Bay Nonviolent Action Network, and others).
But what happened in the streets of Oakland yesterday and into last night was stupid, and I no longer want to have my name associated with a “movement” that is so driven by anger at the expense of strategy (you trashed a children’s art exhibit? What was the strategy behind that?) and speaks against many of my core values and principles.
In theory, I support the idea of taking over a building and “occupying” it for the purpose of supporting this community. If I were around during the “occupation” of Alcatraz, I would have supported it. When workers at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors occupied their factory, they were able to win back their jobs. It’s not the tactic in and of itself that I am critical of.
It’s how it’s carried out, its the energy and the spirit and the messaging behind it, it’s the consciousness (or lack thereof) around the privilege of who is carrying it out, it’s the acknowledgement (or lack thereof) about how these actions are impacting the community of Oakland, it’s the misdirected anger, it’s the lack of long term strategy, and it’s the justification of violence and the idea that a group of mostly out-of-towners can force their will on a community.
Occupy? Yeah, That Sounds About Right -
A while ago, there was a big battle within “Occupy” Oakland to change the name of the movement to “Decolonize Oakland.” After a long, extremely heated General Assembly, the name change was voted down (the Decolonize proposal had 68% support, and a 90% vote is necessary for a change).
I was a strong proponent of the name change. I believe that the name change would have been a conscious recognition about the history of colonialism in this country, and a commitment to liberate our communities, not “occupy” them. The term “occupy,” to me, leaves a bad taste in my mouth as I conjure up images of foreign forces “occupying” another community without regard to those who live there. The “occupation” of Iraq, the “occupation” of Afghanistan, etc.
But after what happened in Oakland last night, I’m starting to feel that “Occupy” is actually a fitting name. The vast majority of the people who were arrested yesterday don’t live in Oakland, and that is not opinion, that is fact. Their actions are costing this city a lot of money, during a time when city employees are getting laid off. And their actions go against the wishes of most people in this community, as evidenced by the fact that the numbers for these actions dwindle every time.
And I get that the city has a responsibility to setting budgetary priorities too. I wish the city would stop paying $5 million a year in interest to Goldman Sachs and invest it in our schools, for example. I also think a chunk of the funding that goes to policing should be invested in community based practices that actually make our communities safe in the long term. But in addition to that, it is also true that Occupy Oakland is costing this city a lot of money. And those who are not from this city have a very different relationship to that.
When people that are not from a certain community come in and force their will on another community, what do you call that? Until those who are acting out in the streets invest more in listening to the concerns of real Oaklanders, swallow their ego and vanguard-ism and support the needs of Oakland, it’s perhaps fitting that they call themselves “Occupiers.”
Police Brutality -
Much of this movement has become an excuse to target our anger at the police. We rail against police brutality every chance we get.
And anyone who knows anything about Oakland knows that police brutality is a serious issue here. But if you’re that serious about the impacts of police brutality, why isn’t this movement hitting the streets and organizing in deep East Oakland and the streets of West Oakland? Do you think that getting hit with a little bit of tear gas and being pushed around with a baton is the worst of what happens here? Do you really see yourself as the “face” of police repression and think of yourself in the same light as a young man of color and how he might get treated by the police in the streets of deep east? How much time do you spend talking about how you were tear-gassed, and how much time do you spend talking about the repression that happens every day in low-income communities?
And if you care about police repression, what is your response to when Oscar Grant’s family continuously pleads with people not to engage in property destruction in his name? Where is your respect for their wishes? What outreach have you done to Andrew Moppin’s family? Why are issues like the gang injunctions and Occupy San Quentin treated like a low-priority side project?
Our Response to Police Violence -
In a movement that is not afraid to confront state injustices, police repression is going to be an issue. That’s the nature of the game. And nonviolence is not afraid of that conflict. The Civil Rights movement was not afraid to confront police, or to break laws to point out the injustices in our society. And we as a movement can’t lose that courage; that will to stand up and say enough is enough, even at the risk of arrest.
Once we understand that our actions may bring on police repression, the question then is about how we, as a movement, are going to respond to it.
Nonviolent movements often times means breaking laws. Let’s not get it twisted. But in doing so, we understand that we are standing on the side of justice, and we cannot be afraid of the consequences that our actions bring. Rather, we make a commitment to confront it face to face. To stand up to state repression and look it straight in the eye. We sacrifice our suffering, so that we can paint a very clear picture of who is right and who is wrong. We make that sacrifice so we can awaken the nation to the injustices our communities face.
In nonviolence, we don’t break windows then run. We don’t take over intersections then hide when the police come. We don’t incite tear-gas then act shocked about it like it was completely unwarranted and unexpected. We stand by our actions and whatever consequences that come with it, because we believe our actions are just. If you believe your actions to be just, there is nothing to run or hide from.
But that type of commitment and discipline takes time and training. The students that led the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins trained for a full year before they went into direct action. To me it’s irresponsible to send people into actions with a high likelihood of a police response without them having been trained, without unity around principles and strategy and without a clearly laid out understanding of how we are going to respond.
In nonviolence, we organize actions that are in line with our principles, so we have nothing to hide from. We don’t wait until it’s dark, we do it out in the open for everyone to see. If we are jailed, then we are jailed for standing up for justice and that becomes the calling card for the movement. We fight for those who are jailed, because we support their actions.
I cannot fight for those who get arrested for breaking windows in my city. I cannot fight for those who vilify other working class people. I cannot fight for those who attempt to harm other people. I cannot fight for those who are arrested purely out of anger, rather than a love for their people and a commitment to real justice for all people.
Stuck in Ideology -
I feel that many people in this movement are so stuck in their own ideology (anarchism, revolution, diversity of tactics, etc.) that they fail to see the impacts of their action. They are so stuck in the idea of a violent overthrow of the government, they are so stuck in wanting revolution to happen tomorrow, that they fail to see what they are lacking in the movement. Long-term strategy. Popular support. A united message.
They are so caught up in “their” way of doing things that anything that challenges their perspective is thrown aside as an attempt to “co-opt” the movement.
I believe in standing firm on your convictions. I stand firm in m commitment to nonviolence. But if someone wants to challenge my beliefs, I welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue. I’m open to challenging myself, and I don’t see anyone who disagrees with nonviolence as “an agent of the state” or an enemy to the movement.
But any challenge to “diversity of tactics” or the “fuck the police” messaging or calls for negotiation or building more strategy before going into actions or calling out the privilege in this movement are viewed as an attack on the movement itself. And that type of fundamentalism is a very dangerous thing.
And it’s turning people off. The November 2nd General Strike was incredible, and it truly represented the diversity of Oakland. And to the anarchists and DOT advocates who played leading roles in that, you deserve all the credit in the world.
But since then, you have been losing support. How much diversity was in the streets of Oakland yesterday? Doesn’t it seem like your actions are only bringing out people of a very particular demographic? Don’t you feel some need to address this? Isn’t there some responsibility to ask why? Shouldn’t movements – especially one that proclaims to represent 99% of the country – be accountable to the needs of that community?
Where Do We Go From Here?
I don’t know. But I do know two things:
1) This movement, the much broader umbrella that includes so many communities and individuals who do not support what happened yesterday, still has incredible potential to make change. And I am still committed to that change.
2) I no longer want to have my name associated with the foolishness that went down yesterday.
The challenge is in reconciling the two. I will not walk away from the potential of this moment in history, but I honestly am starting to feel like being associated with Occupy Oakland may be more of a liability at this point.
“Diversity of Tactics” cannot be synonymous for “diversity of principles.” We cannot hide from our principles, and we can no longer have a movement with such “moral relativism,” as King called it. The ends do not always justify our means. In fact, we need to have means that are reflective of the ends that we seek.
Calling for nonviolence is not creating a division in the movement, it’s about creating unity within a common framework of social change. And we need to find that unity.
I invite others to take a firm stand for nonviolence and to commit to principles that are in line with the vision you have of the society you want to see. I invite others to join in an ongoing conversation, one that I have a feeling is about to kick up in the coming weeks, about what a nonviolent movement committed to radical change might look like. The Positive Peace Warriors Network will be hosting a series of trainings in Kingian Nonviolence over the coming months, and I invite you to attend and have this conversation with us.
Join us, and lets make sure that this thing keeps growing. Stay tuned…..
January 30, 2012 at 12:05 am tdlove says:
I applaud you and agree with you 100%.
I went to #J28 yesterday to find out what bldg #OO was going to occupy. I had gotten some flyers and saw the plans for the day: workshops, march to building, dinner, more workshops the next day, etc. I had also read via twitter their rules for the community building: no violence, respect for occupants, all welcome etc.
I followed the march from FOP around noon. There was a sound truck, a bus for those who couldn’t walk. Music and a band. It was peaceful for the most part. Then the march led us into Laney College, and that was when the planned part of the event (to me) fell apart. The police had as all surrounded and it looked like we were trapped.
I and some others managed to leave Laney via the Children’s Center entrance. We were wondering where we should go, the police had blocked the major streets off of Laney and by the museum. We walked along E. 12th towards the lake and in front of the Kaiser Center. Was the Kaiser Center the original “movein” building. I don’t know. All I know is the blockades forced our group in that direction. The police was standing in front of the Kaiser Center and confronting a growing crowd of marchers. I had thought that this was where everyone went because of the blockade. The police announced that us being there was unlawful..and that is when things got crazy!
A couple of marchers shook at the fence separating E. 12th from the Kaiser Center, and then the police threw smoke bombs. From then on the police forced us back towards FOP on block at a time. From my end..the police were the aggressors (they even beat a couple of folks on bikes who weren’t running fast enough). I heard that the events by the Museum weren’t one-sided though. One of the free lance reporters saw rocks/bottles being thrown.
I retreated to Starbucks after that. On my way home is when I got stuck on Broadway in front of Pican, a block from YMCA. From reading via Twitter/Facebook I heard OO decided to try again to two other spots. They were “kettled” (forced into a small area) by the police at 19th/Telegraph and then at YMCA. YMCA employees let them in. The police arrested a lot of people in front of the YMCA. Including some journalists. Some of the marchers headed back to FOP. I went home.
The reports from MSM and the police aren’t all accurate (IMO). There are definitely two sides to the story of #J28. No one is innocent, however.
I write all of this to say..that I agree with Kazu. I think there are some sincere people in OO who want to help Oakland. But I also think there are those that want to just focus on angering the police and promote violence. I think both of those elements were in play yesterday, and that is really sad. Something awesome (like the Nov. 2 protest) could have occurred, but due to lack of planning and restraint of the violent elements, that potential was all destroyed.
It’s not too late. I ask that if any of you who are in #OO and are reading this..PLEASE go to Kazu’s workshops. Please let the established community organizations that are working these issues work with you.
I apologize for writing this long response on your page Kazu. I just wanted as much people as possible to read this. I tweeted about your post and I hope it’s spread far and wide.
See you at your workshop.
January 30, 2012 at 4:26 am Whitney Smith says:
I was sent this post after writing about my experience of accidentally walking into the protest with my husband saturday night while taking a casual walk around the block during a wait for a table at a nearby restaurant. It was completely unnerving to experience the unstable energy of the protest, the protestors AND the cops. We turned into Broadway not knowing a protest was heading our way, though the hovering helicopters should have tipped us off. We were quickly “kettled”– a term I became familiar with today– and got into a shouting match with police who refused to let us leave peacefully, though they finally relented after a few minutes.
I went to the Nov 2 march, which was a great experience and– I thought– represented a broad spectrum of people and briefly gave voice to the real discontent that festers in our culture. I am alternatively frustrated, disappointed, and impatient with City leadership–who have absolutely no control and dangerously amateurish in how they handle protestors–and with the protestors themselves, who are only too happy to feed off the violence the cops bring when they are confronted. They are in it together, and forgetting about the rest of us, the “99%” who have some actual issues that need to be addressed in a non-violent way.
I, for one, do not have the heart for violence. I was terrified at not being allowed to exit the protest by the cops, and felt that my head could get cracked at any moment for just being there.
2012-01-28 message posted at Facebook by a Occupy Oakland participant:
A city's civic buildings—paid for by previous and current generations of citizens—DOES belong to the people, NOT the government, and certainly NOT the police. The people of a city OWN that city via the taxes they are forced to pay for the privilege of being a municipal shareholder. And, so we're clear, they would have been providing "compensation" in the form of all the community care they were going to administer in and through that building—care the city Oakland has failed to provide to its citizens.
No, this was not theft. No one was looking to sell, profit, or personally gain from the Occupying of an empty, wasted, civic space. This act was many, many members of the Oakland community attempting to turn a squandered, empty building into a community center where they could offer and coordinate help for homeless folks that have been abandoned by the leaders of Oakland. This act was a pure representation of selflessness. No one person would have personally benefited from the using of a wasted resource such as the convention center. The whole intent was to create a facility where citizens that wanted to could volunteer and donate their time and skills to helping their fellow humans. Occupy needed nothing from the city, except a reasonable response to a compassionate, pragmatic solution to a complex problem.
Occupiers did a fantastic job of shining a light on the fact that city leaders and business owners are more concerned with protecting the emptiness of Oakland's buildings than they are living, breathing people that are the most in need of compassion and assistance. Mayor Quan, do buildings really matter more than the most vulnerable lives?
I grew up believing it was charitable to do the right thing, to help out the less fortunate, and to be a good Samaritan. So many people seem to have forgotten these simple lessons we learned form our mothers, our teachers, and our Sunday schools. Now people are content to turn their backs on the most frail, the sick, the mentally ill, the war veterans, the beaten mothers and their babies. What exactly is the point of being in a society? What truly makes a society civilized? Do we hope someone would care for us if we became ill, or jobless, or homeless? Do we hope someone would stand up for us if we were wrongly accused of a crime? We are in this thing together, like it or not. Humans fail alone but triumph together.
Citizens trying to help homeless folks, in a building the city isn't using, are the heroes in this story! The bullies with military-grade equipment and guns to shoot at their fellow citizens are NOT heroes! Bullies with guns, are bullies with guns. Shooting at crowds, letting multiple cops beat individuals they've grabbed away from a crowd, arresting crowds upwards of 100, violating citizens' civil rights, and terrorizing an entire city, all illustrates that the cops of the OPD, SFPD, and Berkeley & San Leandro PD are the BAD guys in this scenario. To protect and serve, PEACE officers! To PROTECT and SERVE! Stop hurting us. I guarantee in your families and communities, you know more folks in the 99% than you do in the 1%. We are your friends! We are your families! STOP hurting us!
Original message about Move-In Day:
Like millions of people in this country, Occupy Oakland has no home.
On January 28, Move-in Day, we’re going to change that. We’re going to occupy a large, vacant building and convert it into a social center.
Come join us for the initial occupation. There will be a festival all that weekend to celebrate our new home.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
Occupy Oakland is about people providing for themselves and for others, since it is clear that the system can no longer provide for them. It is a place where people who are fed up can come together and develop new forms of struggle.
Since November, the city of Oakland and its police force have made it impossible for us to meet, to serve food, and to provide a place for people to stay, in our original home at Oscar Grant Plaza.
At the same time, all over the city, thousands of buildings sit empty for the simple reason that they exist to enrich the 1% rather than meet people’s needs for space and shelter.
Occupy Oakland has a demonstrated need for such a space. We have served tens of thousands of meals without charge, provided a place for thousands of people to sleep free from police repression, planned and carried out actions in which tens of thousands of people have participated. Most importantly, unlike a charity, Occupy Oakland provides people with the opportunity to get involved and determine the direction of the movement. It is open to the initiative of everyone.
HOW WILL THE OCCUPATION WORK?
The full shape of the activities that happen in the building is yet to be determined. We need you to come help us do that. For now, there are plans for a kitchen, sleeping quarters, meeting space for committees and working groups, a space for kids, a library, and media room. The possibilities are endless!
We have learned from the experience at Oscar Grant Plaza that we can do much more to make this space safe for everyone, especially women and queer people. We will continue to develop our capacity to take care of each other and keep each other safe without involving the police.
The Occupy movement is largely based on direct action outside the law. Like the encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza, the building move-in is not legal. As with the plaza, however, there is safety in numbers – that is, the more of us there are the less chance there is of a police attack. We believe that the best way to protect each other is to set up a free, open space in which people can come and go. We hope that eventually our presence in the building will become normalized and we can keep it long term. To that end, we intend to have a large festival during the move-in weekend, which will invite people from all over the city to come and celebrate the new space with us. During those two days, we will hold assemblies to further define and organize the use of the building.
Come to our planning meetings before the Occupy Oakland General Assembly –Wednesdays @ 4:30, and Friday @ 4:30, in the amphitheatre at Oscar Grant Plaza
On the web, visit occupyoaklandmoveinday.org; on twitter, visit OO_Movein; send questions to email@example.com