I went to Oakland to help cover the “Move in Day” for January 28th, 2012. This trip has put a lot into perspective. Here is my version of what happened in Oakland, which is very unlike what you have been reading in mainstream media.
We got into San Francisco early Saturday morning. I slept for about 2 hours, then went to meet the rest of the traveling companions for our journey into Oakland. During our trip into the city, we read on twitter that there had already been one arrest, and this was right near Oscar Grant Plaza, where an occupier got picked up by the police.
By the time we had arrived, we found out the occupier had not been fully arrested, but only detained, and the rally was quickly building in OGP, and spilling into the streets. Their goal: To take back a building to make into a community center. They seemed to have some plans, and have some targeted buildings.
The march left, and began the tour of Oakland, when we first went off through the streets, there were somewhere around 3,500 from my guess. There were signs and banners, a large truck with a DJ and speakers, a bus, and many groups rolling carts of gear and food through the streets. The crowd was in good spirits, singing, dancing, and chanting. As we took to the streets, it seemed some joined in, or at least opened their windows to shout support. As the march enveloped downtown, so did the police.
The march was led onto a college campus. The bus stopped, the truck stopped, the people walked on, where they split up. The group I was with was in danger of being kettled with no way out, as it seemed the police were everywhere around us. We were marched into an area where there was a very small bridge to cross, and it took a long time to get the group through. When we got up the hill and around the corner, there were cops surrounding the building in front of us.
The march stopped, I at this point was right in front of the building. I was not sure if we were stopped because of police ahead, or because this was the building they wanted. When I saw the building, I did chuckle to myself that this must be the building, as the Kaiser convention center has a statement of dedication to the people. This building is a large one, with a theater, concert hall and many other spaces. It has been closed since 2006. Occupy Oakland wanted to take the building to reopen it to the public as a community center.
The police were behind a shoddy chain link fence, the protestors on the other side, chanting at them, and demanding the space be freed. The violence began with some smoke bombs and less lethal rounds shot at us. Some cowards threw bottles from behind us. This bothered me. I am against them throwing things, especially when they do it from behind other people. The police threw another smoke bomb, and a few more shots, then we were on our way marching again. \
We marched down the street a little ways, then got corralled by the police, and the police and the protest began a standoff. The protesters holding the shields came to the front. The shields were made by the protesters who were sick of being hit by, and watching our brothers and sisters be hit by less lethal rounds, tear gas and flash grenades. This was to protect people, not to HURT anyone.
I was writing a blog about my experiences in Oakland on J28, and am still having issues presenting the message I would like to. Instead I have decided to share a few videos with you, which show a more truthful picture of what happened that day. It started as a party, and apparently OPD has a problem distingishing between happy protesters, and a riot. We were tear gassed, had flash grenades lobbed at us, and less lethal projectiles shot at us. We were corralled or as they like to say “kettled” with many getting beat up at the YMCA, out of sight of many of the cameras.
This is not the way american citizens, nor the citizens, and friends of the city of Oakland should be treated. We need to bring attention to the ever expanding police state, as I fear we are already too late.
Here is a well produced video entitled: The Battle For Oakland
This is the Kettling that the guy above missed, where the fence was torn down to save us from the cops who were moving in. This happened in front of a monument made up of statues of of the Peace Leaders of the World, including Mother Theresa, Ghandi, MLK, and others…. Ironic getting tear gassed in their presence.
I did not get kettled by the YMCA, as the streamer I was buddying with (we don’t go ANYWHERE alone in Oakland) had her phone stolen, and I chased the guy who took it. We got to the police lines, and were not allowed beyond, until the informations officer came to speak to the press. They let us in, then blocked our view with buses.
Mayor Quan of Oakland asked that we “the leaders” of the other occupies across the nation denounce Occupy Oakland. Instead we in Los Angeles consented on a Statement of Support where reads as followed:
Statement of the General Assembly of Occupy Los Angeles, February 1, 2012
Occupy Los Angeles has always stood in unwavering solidarity with Occupy Oakland. After Occupy Oakland’s most recent victimization by the illegal and brutal tactics of OPD, Oakland City Council and Mayor Jean Quan, we feel it necessary to restate our unequivocal support for our comrades–we call for the dropping of charges against those arrested.
We consider every horizontally structured, autonomous group fighting for social and economic justice, and intent on providing services for the community that the government has failed to provide, as our brothers and sisters. As long as the civil government of Oakland remains derelict in creating an equal and just society, it falls to the people to provide for themselves. We support and respect Occupy Oakland’s courage and collective state of mind that we must strive for in order to enact real change in our world.
Oakland, Los Angeles and the United States have been the “playground” of the 1% and their lackeys in government for too long. We will not tolerate police brutality, the oppression of free speech and the systematic violence used against our comrades in any situation, and we will certainly not denounce or declare ourselves against those who fight for justice in a police state – particularly those adhering to our shared principles and values. An injury to one is an injury to all, with this call to denounce Occupy Oakland being only the latest in an ever-growing list. There are only so many injuries we will allow you to inflict upon us.”
I don’t believe we should be violent, however I do believe protecting each other is what we need to do. I truly believe we need to stand up against this show of police oppression and force, the fear tactics, the violence, as it is just being used to keep us from standing up for ourselves and each other.
I have been suffering from Post Tramatic Stress Disorder since my return, when I sleep, I am being chased, and fired upon in my dreams. When I am awake, I find myself looking at the world around me in a whole new light.
I stress to you all, do not look at what the main stream media has presented as truth because it is not. Just ask those who were there. Just ask those who are fighting for our freedom, before the last of it vanishes.