Photo by AnkaKarewicz, taken on October 29, 2011.
For the past few weeks, the Oakland Police Department has harassed occupiers whenever and wherever they find us. After the last raid on the camp at Oscar Grant Plaza, they initially said we could re-occupy the plaza from 6 AM to 10 PM – which also happens to be legal, but legality often seems beside the point with OPD. For the past few weeks, they have steadily harassed occupiers during daylight hours, making up New Rules as they went along (Bill Maher would be proud). No food, no umbrellas, no bikes, no no no no no. Unless you are not an occupier, of course. Your garden variety homeless person not affiliated with OO is free to sleep in the plaza; your upstanding citizen picnickers are free to bring food; your Chamber of Commerce types can walk through with their umbrellas. Some day I hope the National Lawyers Guild or the ACLU will have a field day filing selective enforcement lawsuits.
This afternoon about a dozen cops gathered to ostensibly remove the tree-sitter who re-occupied the tree a couple of days ago. Another 10 or so cops advanced on the vigil and began dismantling the kitchen. What they weren’t prepared for is that about 100 of us DFHs had mobilized and were ready to defend our right to have a fucking card table with some fucking bagels and some fucking orange slices on it if we fucking wanted to – and to fucking gather around that table and talk without the fucking pigs interfering.
But OPD doesn’t believe we have that right. They came in and began randomly arresting people, to the point of chasing them and throwing them down. The video above starts after they had already arrested people at the vigil and then retreated to the edge of the plaza. This police-instigated melee eventually moved out into the street; a man whose van was blocked got out and became very abusive with occupiers. He did not get arrested; the person he verbally abused did. A total of ten people were arrested and nobody seems to have any idea why, with the exception of a news report that indicated one person would be charged with assault. Police finally retreated; I expect them to come back tonight after most people – and the local news – have left.