$156.00 donated in past month
On the 4th of July, community members in Santa Cruz brought messages of peace, justice, and equality to Ocean Street as they greeted visitors entering town for the busy holiday. Every year a variety of groups working on peace and justice issues rally along Ocean Street as thousands of people make their way to the beach and the Boardwalk.
Although some very serious statements were communicated by those holding signs at the rally, the atmosphere was generally fun and festive, and the tourists showed a lot of support for what they saw as they rolled by. Some of the topics communicated at this year's rally included support for the Highway 17 Six, ending solitary confinement in prison, ending U.S. military involvement in Syria and the Ukraine, ending sexual violence, ending the killing of children and adults by U.S drone warfare, and ending the war on Gaza.
One individual at the rally wore like a necklace a set of signs that were tied together and inscribed with the names of four sisters killed in an American drone strike in Yemen. They were members of the Ali Mohammed Nasser family. Afrah was 9 years old, Zayda was 7 years old, Hoda was 5 years old, and Sheika was 4 years old when they were all killed in the attack.
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: 2013
On the grassy lawn in front of Hewlett Packard headquarters, demonstrators held a "virtual" meeting dubbed "The People's Shareholders Meeting" on March 18. Board members in silk-screened HP insignia ties joined a Meg Whitman character in blonde wig. CEO Whitman fielded questions about the company's complicity in Israel's oppression of Palestine from a group on lawn chairs portraying shareholders. Testifiers, including two Israeli citizens, spoke to the shareholders from a mock podium.
February 10 marked the fourth consecutive Santa Cruz City Council meeting where residents have protested the police purchase of a $250,000 BearCat (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck) funded by two Department of Homeland Security grants. As with the previous protests, community members again rallied in the City Hall courtyard and entered the council meeting as a group to speak out against the purchase of the armored attack-style vehicle during the open communications period.
Members of Youth Alliance for Justice rallied in front of Mountain View City Hall on January 28th with the faces of victims on placards, asking that they not be forgotten. All the images were of people who were killed, seriously injured, or "disappeared" due to racism or human rights violations.
On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle."
On November 10, peace activists in Santa Cruz protested a book signing appearance by Leon Panetta, the one-time Secretary of Defense and CIA Director. Panetta is currently on a book tour promoting the release of "Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace."
Bookshop Santa Cruz hosted the event, which was held in the sanctuary at Peace United Church of Christ, with a crowd of hundreds in attendance. By the end of the evening, five individuals were "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz, in retaliation for activities related to the evening's peaceful protest.
After the talk began, and Panetta was speaking in the Sanctuary, a group of four individuals dressed in white in the audience stood up and unfurled a long banner that read "Stand For Peace." The activists left, and when outside of the sanctuary, all four of them reported they had been "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Additionally, Indybay journalist Alex Darocy was assaulted by a member of Panetta's security team while documenting the event. When Bookshop Santa Cruz manager Casey Coonerty-Protti witnessed the reporter's reaction to the assault, she banned him "for life" from the book store as well.
Peace Activists 'Banned for Life' from Bookshop Santa Cruz for Protesting Leon Panetta | Indybay Journalist Assaulted by Leon Panetta's Security at Bookshop Santa Cruz Event
Previous Coverage: Protest Against Leon Panetta for War Crimes
On October 28, father and a daughter Mauro Oliveira (Red Sun) and Mahai'a Sol helped blockade Beale Air Force base, which is east of Sacramento. They are free now, but they face Federal charges. For months, an affinity group of mostly Elder citizens has been setting up information outlets, banners, signage and even blockading the entrance to the base and triggering arrests, as part of Occupy Beale Air Force Base.
Mauro Oliveira writes:
Before the sun rose our banners greeted the rapid flow of vehicles, including drone pilots, entering the base. We sang spirited songs as wild horses ran ecstatically in the distance. We then all moved into the road and blockaded the entrance and exit. State Highway moved in and huddled with the base MPs.
My daughter has stood against war all her life and today was no different. As the guards attempted to avert an arrest and close the gate, effectively completing our blockade, my daughter and I slid thru and triggered our military arrest. We want drones to end and until THAT day, my family wants it to be clear to the victims of drone strikes and to the entire world, that we believe in Peace, not war and consider drone strikes as a war crime against humanity and an act against the Creators greatest gift, the Children of the world, of which we all are.
Read More |
Occupy Beale Air Force Base
On the evening of September 23, the airwaves were filled with reports of strikes by the United States and its allies against targets in Syria. Rapid response in Palo Alto by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center brought out Peninsula residents in protest.
Demonstrators in San Francisco and San José took the streets as well. The real objective of this war, said protesters, is to locate permanent Pentagon military bases in Iraq, Syria and the entire resource rich region of the Middle East. Endless war in the Middle East with the US leading the pack is to gain permanent imperial power and domination in a region that contains much of the world's oil reserves.
Emergency Protest "Stop the U.S. bombing of Syria!"
Israel's Ministry of Justice has filed an indictment against a border policeman for assaulting and injuring 15-year-old Tarek Abu Khdeir, cousin to Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death by Israeli settlers, in July. According to reports, the officer, whose name remains under gag order, was indicted at the Jerusalem magistrate court on September 10, for using "excessive force" that could not be justified.
The incident took place at a July 3 demonstration, in the Shu'fat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, just a day after the abduction, torture and burning of 16-year-old Muhammad. A ministry statement read: "...evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes, committed after the arrest of the minor, who was handcuffed at the time". Tarek has denied taking part in the demonstration, saying he was only an observer but fled when police began chasing suspects, as Israeli police are well-known for their inhumane treatment of Palestinians.
An uncle of Tariq, who has since returned home to Florida, called the indictment a "cover up" of the beating, and an Israeli attempt to appease the United States, AFP further reports: "If Tariq wasn't an American citizen we would have never seen an investigation," Yassin Abu Khdeir declared, noting that his nephew was attacked by a "group" of policemen who had also "attacked dozens of other kids". "But we won't see any further indictment because those kids are not American citizens," he added.
Read More | See Also: Signatories Call on White House to Investigate Beating and Detention of Tariq Abu Khdeir
Related Indybay Coverage: The World Responds to Israel's Atrocities in Gaza
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
Latino activists in solidarity with Palestinians marched down Market Street in San Francisco on August 2 in a unity call for saving the children of Central America who are languishing at the US-Mexican border, as well as the children dying in Gaza. Movimiento por la Reunifacacion Familiar organizers reached out to everyone to join together in a march chanting, “No mas ninos deportados nuestros ninos son sagrados!” “No more children deported; our children are sacred.”
On August 4, activists in downtown Santa Cruz staged a second die-in as part of their ongoing protest of Israel's attacks on Gaza. Like the July 28 die-in, a rally was held first at the Town Clock, where many of the names and ages of Palestinians killed were displayed on name cards. Community members then marched to the Cooper House on Pacific Avenue where the die-in was staged. Individuals laid down on the sidewalk and their bodies were outlined in chalk as organizers read the names and ages of Palestinian children killed since the war began on July 8.
Community members in Santa Cruz gathered once again along busy Ocean Street to greet this year's Independence Day beach tourists with a message of peace as they drove into town. The weather was warm and traffic was bumper to bumper as long-time anti-war activists lined the streets holding signs and greeting people. The rally is an annual event in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz area veterans were in attendance representing VFW Post 5888, and they held their large "Wage Peace" banner. The Raging Grannies sang, and members of Food Not Bombs Santa Cruz held their "three lane" banner, which is so wide it spans three lanes of traffic when stretched out fully. The rally was co-sponsored by People United for Peace of SC County, SC Coalition to Bring the Troops Home Now, CodePink SC, Santa Cruz Against Drones, the Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting, Raging Grannies SC, Women in Black SC, SC Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Veterans for Peace SC, United Nations Association SC, and SC Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: 2013: On Independence Day, Santa Cruzans Demand Freedom from the Security State
In response to the recent threat of U.S. military attacks in Iraq, community members in Santa Cruz held a vigil for the Iraqi people on June 23 at the Town Clock. Those who participated in the vigil are calling for nonviolent diplomacy, reparation and repairs, no military intervention in Iraq, and an end to weapons sales in the Middle East. "We are sick and tired of violence being thought of as a way to prevent violence," a UCSC student said at the vigil.
The student was one of a number of UC Santa Cruz students present at the vigil who were protesting the connection between the University of California system and war profiteering. "At UCSC we are supposed to be a very diverse, engaged, and active community, but being up there I realize that most students don't realize we are this involved," she said. "The UC system invests in bomb labs and is profiteering from going to war. The UC is getting money this way, and that's not OK."
Other supporters at the vigil included individuals from the Faith communities of Santa Cruz, WILPF SC, the Palestine-Israel Action Committee of the Resource Center for Nonviolence, and Jewish Voice for Peace SC. Organizers say they will be holding similar vigils at the Town Clock in support of the people of Iraq in the near future.
Read More with Photos and Video
Scott Olsen's skull was shattered and part of his brain destroyed when an OPD officer shot him in the head with a Specialty Impact Munition (SIM) at a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration. As he lay critically injured on the pavement, an OPD officer threw a CS Blast grenade onto him — a teargas device that explodes with a flash of light and loud bang.
At least a dozen other people were injured by so-called "less lethal" weapons at the Occupy demonstrations, even though OPD's own policies and federal court orders specify that these weapons may not be fired into crowds. As a result, the City of Oakland has had to pay out more than $7 million in legal settlements to people who have suffered serious injuries from SIM or CS Blasts, including burns, hearing loss, fractures, crushed nerves and scarring.
A new petition demands that OPD be prohibited from using SIMs and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay.org) is supporting this petition. Indybay reporters are sick and tired of getting shot and gassed by OPD while covering protests in Oakland, a gross violation of freedom of the press and basic human rights.
Read More |
Campaign Video |
Sign the Petition
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Oakland to Pay Big for OPD Shooting Scott Olsen in the Face |
Costs of OPD's Violence Against Protesters Mount: Settlement in the Kayvan Sabeghi Beating |
NLG Obtains $1.17M and OPD Reforms for Injured Occupy Oakland Protesters and Journalists |
Oakland Occupiers Defiant After Police Raid, Mass Arrests, and Tear Gas/Projectile Attacks |
March 7th Rally to Protest April 7, 2003 Police Attack at Docks |
Oakland Rally Questions 2003 Attack on Protesters |
Remember the Shots! Return to the Docks! |
Port Of Oakland Shut Down: Police Fire Concussion Grenades and Wooden Bullets at Protesters and Dock Workers