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Oakland Police Violently Attack Peaceful Protest - 4/7
by Jesse
Monday Apr 7th, 2003 11:03 AM
Police attack peaceful protest with concussion grenades, wooden bullets, tear gas, and physical brutality.
Today I showed up for a direct action in Oakland to protest corporations who make profits from war while children are dying in Iraq. We were told we were reinfocements for certain gates, and asked to pile into vans and busses. When we reached the destination, the police had the access road shut off so we could not join the rest of the protesters. We all piled out of the vehicles and walked past the single policeman that was manning the roadblock. We walked a ways (almost a mile it felt like) to meet up with the other protesters who were enjoying a peaceful picket. When we arrived we had just been told that a dispersal order had occured, but I heard none.

All of a sudden, explosions are going off, smoke can be seen, people are panicing and the police are aiming what looks to be shotguns at people and shooting into the crowd at close range. It was the most barbaric display of violence that I have witnessed yet in my young life so far. It underscored the willingness of the state to use violence to obtain profits.

The protest was completey non-violent and peaceful. We were blockading a corporation who profits from the war. The police showed their willingness to injure and attack the very people they are paid by for protection. It seems to underscore for me the problem. Profits are more important than people in this world. This is what we were there to protest, and this display couldn't have prooven the point better.

Personally, I took 4 wooden bullets to the left side of my body. One in the lowest rib in my chest, and 2 on my leg, with the last leaving my left knee looking like a grapefruit. The flash grenades were the scarriest because they were actual explosions, and they were going off only meteres from our heads. Tear gas (not possitive thats the kind) was used at one point as well, but seemed to be less effective for them than the wooden bullets.

Watching cops run up to a crowd of panicing people, aim at their heads, and fire was a sight i will never forget. I saw a guy who got hit in the face with one of them and he was realy bloodied up. There were people with cameras so you can expect some photos tonight. I wonder what happened to the mainstream cameraman who was caught up in a group of protesters that was getting shot at close range by cops. I also wonder if it will affect their reporting at all.

So for a couple hours bassically, we were in a tactical retreat, with the cops following close behind using nasty tricks to scare people into leaving. The motorcycle cops thought they could just drive right through us without incident. I wonder what kind of person it takes to attack a peaceful crowd like that. It's like I asked one of the cops: How do you sleep at night?

When I left people were regrouping at West Oakland Bart.

Power to the people.