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"Occupy, the 'Battles of Oakland', and the Face of US Police Abuse" - OpEd News
by Ritt Goldstein
Friday Oct 28th, 2011 6:46 PM
We have seen the current 'Battle of Oakland', but this wasn't the first such 'battle' the City's police have waged on peaceful protesters. In a democratic society, one would hope it's 'a crime' if those exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to dissent become targeted as 'the enemy', effective 'war' waged upon them.
Occupy, the 'Battles of Oakland', and the Face of US Police Abuse
by Ritt Goldstein
Copyright October 2011

On Tuesday riot police raided the ongoing Occupy demonstration in Oakland, California, beginning a period of sustained police violence against the protesters. But, this 'battle' against those exercising the right to peaceful protest isn't Oakland's first.

The first 'Battle of Oakland' took place on April 7, 2003, Wikipedia noting that "police fired wooden dowels, sting balls, concussion grendades, tear gas and other non-lethal weapons when protesters at the gates of two shipping lines at the port refused an order to disperse. Longshoremen and protestors were injured in the exchange." Longshoreman were also quoted as saying the police gave those present two minutes to disperse, then simply opened fire, not attempting to make any arrests.

Protesters, which included a cross-section of the community, were reported as attempting to hide from the police onslaught and barrage. Many were wounded in the back, suggesting they were not attacking police when fired upon.

Contrary to police claims at the time, protesters emphasized that they were acting peacefully, and "accused the police of using excessive force". Notably, nine longshoremen that were not part of the protest were injured by the police fire.

According to a 2003 story in the San Jose Mercury News, the workers "'were standing in one area waiting to go to work, and then the police started firing on the longshoremen,' said Henry Graham, the president of ILWU Local 10. 'Some were hit in the chest with rubber bullets, and seven of our guys went to the hospital. I don't want to imply that the police deliberately did this, but it doesn't make sense.'"

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