On January 27, about 100 citizens attended the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to demand the Council rescind its rushed approval of the Police Department's purchase of a fully armored vehicle, a BearCat. Activists claim Santa Cruz Police relied on questionable information about their need for an armored vehicle when they pushed the Council to approve this purchase, claiming it would take 3-4 hours for the nearest armored vehicle to arrive here from Santa Clara if needed. In fact, both the Sheriff's Department and the Scotts Valley Police Department have armored vehicles that can be quickly deployed.
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.
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.
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. A new petition demands that OPD be prohibited from using SIMs and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events.
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's military aid to Israel. According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
On March 24, the California Department of Corrections, which practices culture jamming by "correcting" commercial advertisements, successfully modified a billboard in San Francisco to read, PAIN ISN'T ALWAYS OBVIOUS. LEARN THE SIGNS AT GUANTANAMO BAY. The ad comes two weeks after a landmark lawsuit, Hassan v. Obama, was brought before U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to end force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay. Hassan has been on hunger strike since 2005 and has allegedly experienced over 5,000 forced-feedings.
As the U.S. government marched towards war with Syria in late August, anti-war groups and activists across the state responded with two weeks of emergency demonstrations. The ANSWER Coalition organized a series of protests, and actions were planned for the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer. Events were also held at well known anti-war protest locations such as Peace Crossroads in San Jose and on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.