Jan 30 2012

The Right To Peacefully Assemble

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Over the weekend Occupy Oakland attempted to occupy an abandoned building into into a community center to provide education, medical, and housing services for the 99%. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbag rounds and mass arrests. From Occupy Oakland Media

January 29, 2011 – Oakland, CA – Yesterday, the Oakland Police deployed hundreds of officers in riot gear so as to prevent Occupy Oakland from putting a building, vacant for 6 years with no plans for use, from being occupied and “re-purposed” as a community center. The Occupy Oakland GA passed a proposal calling for the space to be turned into a social center, convergence center and headquarters of the Occupy Oakland movement.

The police actions tonight cost the city of Oakland hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they repeatedly violated their own crowd control guidelines and protesters civil rights.

With all the problems in our city, should preventing activists from putting a vacant building to better use be their highest priority? Was it worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent?

The OPD is facing receivership based on actions by police in the past, and they have apparently learned nothing since October. On October 25, Occupiers rushed to the aid of Scott Olsen who was shot in the head by police, and the good Samaritans who rushed to his had had a grenade thrown at them by police. At 3:30pm this afternoon, OO medics yet again ran to the aid of injured protesters lying on the ground. Other occupiers ran forward and used shields to protect the medic and injured man. The police then repeatedly fired less lethal rounds at these people trying to protect and help an injured man.

No one condones throwing objects at police, violence or vandalism but it does not justify the overreaction by the Oakland police department use of military type weapons to stop unarmed protesters.

From Kevin Gosztola who describes the videos below in his reporting on the Occupy movement at FDL:

Recorded video footage from the scene shows officers did not give a dispersal order. They pushed protesters toward the YMCA and would not let them leave the scene as they ordered them to “submit” to the arrest. The protesters then did what anyone would do as a battalion of riot police closed in on them: they found the nearest escape route, which happened to be through an entrance to the building. [*See the 30-min mark of the video below.]

I will not condone the throwing of objects at police, but the video captured by Mills, who was also at the scene when percussion grenades, tear gas and other weapons were being fired by police, calls into question the [statements by the city  that protesters were “charging” police. Yes, they were advancing on the riot police, slowly. A handful, like any protest, were egging on the riot police. But, if you watch the video the moment the riot police move on the protesters they immediately fall back. They do not let the police charge into them, which raises doubts about whether it was ever necessary to fire off any chemical weapons at protesters to force the crowd to disperse.

Sunday night in solidarity with Oakland Occupiers took to the streets in cities across the country:

#SolidaritySunday with Oakland Marches in NYC and Across the US; Bank of Ideas Being Evicted in London

As of 8pm EST, actions are currently happening or planned in response to extreme police violence used against Occupy Oakland yesterday in New York City, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Melbourne, Oslo, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, Tampa, Indianapolis, New Haven, Orlando, Jackson, Des Moines, Hollywood, Baltimore, Portland ME, Tulsa, Denver, St. Louis, Eugene, Nashville, and Detroit. We have also received word that the Bank of Ideas in London is being raided!

At noon today, Occupy DC faces a ban on camping in the parks but will remain in McPherson Square.

We stand with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the right to peaceful assembly.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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