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East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons

PRESS RELEASE: Occupy Oakland Denounces Police Violence and City Lies
by Occupied Oakland Tribune (repost)
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 8:49 AM
Press release by members of Occupy Oakland
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 1, 2012 – Oakland, CA – On January 28, thousands of people responded to Occupy Oakland’s call for a mass mobilization to occupy a vacant building and transform it into a new home for the movement. Occupy Oakland’s new home was to be a social center, open to all who wanted to participate and contribute. We planned to work together, as we did at Oscar Grant Plaza, to provide free food, housing, medical care, a space for children, a space for women and queers, and, most importantly, a community.

“The entire plan to take over a building was kept a secret in order to avoid conflict with the police,” said Occupier Jaime Omar Yassin. “The plan would allow people who wanted to stay away from police to do so. Only people who were committed to facing police violence and arrest–knowing the risks–would stay in the building. The last thing we wanted was for hundreds of people to be assaulted and arrested, but that seemed to be the OPD’s priority in order to protect an unused building.”

We were met with a massive police response including tear gas, flash bang grenades, sub lethal rounds and wanton baton strikes. The city, which continues to close libraries and schools and lay off city workers, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to violently prevent Occupy Oakland from transforming an unused, City-owned building into a socially useful space. In excess of $3 million of taxpayer money has been spent to repress Occupy Oakland so far; the city seems to have no intention of halting its costly and brutal efforts.

Despite the police aggression, close to a thousand people regrouped at Oscar Grant Plaza and marched through downtown. Police trapped us in a vacant lot at 19th and Telegraph and tear gas was once again used. After escaping the kettle, the march continued a few blocks north before hundreds were trapped again, in front of the YMCA building, and arrested with no dispersal order. By the end of the evening, close to 400 protesters had been arrested in Oakland, the vast majority with unfounded charges that will most likely be dropped.

Despite police and city official’s attempts to criminalize and smear Occupy Oakland, the movement retains high levels of broad support. The fact that several thousand people participated in the Move-in day is evidence of the continuing support for Occupy Oakland. Cars honked in support of the march as we passed in the streets, several storefronts cheered and residents passed out water to gassed and exhausted protesters. Solidarity demonstrations were held in nearly thirty cities, organized by Occupy Wall Street, Boston, Chicago and others.

As marchers were released through the weekend, stories of police misconduct emerged. Alyssa Eisenberg, an Occupy Oakland activist who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, was denied her medication while being detained. “At least two other people who asked for medication weren’t given it,” she said. “One woman had her cuffs on so tight that her hands were turning blue and she was crying. The way they treated us is exactly why I am involved in Occupy Oakland,” Eisenberg said. Other protesters recently released from jail report similar widespread abuses. Detained protesters were kept in painful zip tie handcuffs—some for 8 to 12 hours—were not allowed to access bathrooms and were not given medical treatment for injuries or illness—including someone suffering from HIV and another suffering from a kidney condition. Those processed at Santa Rita have complained of being kept in holding areas designed for a fraction of their number, in inappropriate areas like shower rooms, and of being harassed.

These acts follow the Quan administration’s attempts to game the judicial system and use it to stifle freedom of expression with “stay away” orders and by piling on, and reopening, charges for protests. Occupy Oakland and the people of Oakland and the Bay Area, will not be intimidated into silence and passivity by the violence and repression against us. These acts only strengthen our resolve, and should be a clarion call to all people who value free speech and assembly. Occupy Oakland continues to plan demonstrations and actions to defend the interests of the 99% against the repression and greed of the 1%. On Sunday, January 29, the day after police attacks and arrests, Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly voted to hold a rally against police repression on Monday, February 6, and endorsed the call for a May 1 international general strike.

Other examples of misconduct from the weekend include:

* Firing sub-lethal ammunition indiscriminately into a crowd, at head level; use of tear gas in violation of OPD’s policies.
* Detaining journalists with visible press credentials
* Officers covering ID/name tags—illegal under California Penal Code 830.10; a Federal Judge recently called this “the most serious level of misconduct”
* Policies for dispersal orders not followed
* Unnecessary use of force and violence
* Filing “stay away” orders which prevent protesters from attending GAs and city council meetings.

Links and Video:

Judge Henderson’s Ruling on OPD Covering ID/Name
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/30/BAIM1N0JPG.DTL

Evidence that marchers were kettled and gassed, detained without warning, and NOT “occupying” the YMCA, by Spencer Mills aka OakFoSho
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTum1mSpkK8&feature=player_embedded

More clear video of the march being simultaneously trapped and tear gassed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pnjDSfwkPY

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Not buying it
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 5:24 PM
Between the fact that dozens or more of you came armed with helmets, and the fact that you've already identified yourselves as an autonomous group with no decision-making leadership, your claims that there was no intent for violence is an indefensible statement.

-If you have no leadership, you can't set parameters for violence vs. non-violence. As such, your claim of "intent" is indefensible. Nobody is making decisions or setting rules in advance of the actions, so how can you claim after the fact that you had the same?

-If dozens or more of you come with weaponry, then that faction is clearly coming with violent intent.

-The posts by the "Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Commitee", on this same site, refute your claims and clearly indicate otherwise. In fact, they suggest that if you are peaceful and non-violent that you avoid the March 5 event.

In summation? If you're one of the anarchists whose bloc tactics are doing the violence, you're deluding yourself but not me in your claim that you have widespread support. If you're Occupy Oakland and truly non-violent in your intent?..then you have a virus in your system that you'd best clear out, because its derailing your support and agenda.
by anon y mouse
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 8:29 PM
"Armed with helmets"??? What - does this mean that the State has a right to smash skulls of protestors and that any attempt to interfere with this "right" means that the protestors have some sort of violent intent? That's laughable bullshit.

The mistake that protestors make is that they continue to bring yardsigns to a gunfight, where they ought to be using the same sort of body armor the paramilitary "police" use at a bare minimum, in addition to gas masks and chemical warfare protection. Some good stout clubs might well be in order, too, to resist and deter armed "police" from committing batteries and assaults on people exercising the rights enumerated in the Constitution.

People who show up at a protest unarmed and unprepared are a very inviting soft target; they're likely to be hurt, some severely, by "police" who are far better armed and prepared by their military training to commit acts of violence on them. If these "police" have a soft target guaranteed not to fight back, they'll attack that target in preference to a target which will defend itself against attack.

Over and above all that, it's obvious that protest isn't going to do much good. Marching in the streets with banners asking the people in power to change their policies obviously won't change a thing when the people in power send paramilitary police to use violent tactics to enforce those policies. Occupying a building won't do much good unless the people doing the occupation are willing to have a knock-down drag-out battle with the people trying to re-take that building, something that the occupiers should be prepared for - and then what's the point in that? We're talking about something just short of warfare here, if not actual warfare, because that's what "taking" and "occupying" means, it means that the takers and occupiers are willing to fight to keep what they've taken and occupied.

It might be easier to organize a recall campaign against the Mayor and her city council and get better people in office, and then replace the police chief that way, rather than start a civil war. If you can turn out the amount of local people in a recall election that you can get in the streets, and get all of their relatives to join in, you should have a good chance to kick the crooks out and shitcan the crooked cops who support them.
by Joe Blow
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2012 11:52 PM
Note how there are people advocating upping the ante in terms of weaponry. All that does is help the authorities get the "radicals" off the streets. It's what undercover pigs do. They incite violence so the pigs have a reason to clamp down.