OAKLAND, California – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is closing 5 schools reportedly due to budget cuts. Parents, teachers, and community members are in an uproar as access to public education dwindles–particularly in poor communities of color. In protest to the school shut downs, a handful of community members set up a tent encampment outside the Lakeview Elementary campus on Friday, the last day of school. In tandem with the “sit-in,” teachers have been organizing classes for kids at the encampment during the demonstration, dubbing it the “People’s School for Public Education.”
The tent sit-in continued into Monday morning, when police arrived and posted flyers stating:
Safe, healthy and supportive schools require good order and peaceful conduct. Notice. Willful interference with the good order of a school is a misdemeanor. You are interfering with the good order and peaceful conduct of this school. You are directed to leave this school immediately and you may not return for 30 days.
The flyer continues by stating the penal code in violation and redirects all inquiries to the [Police Dept. of OUSD].
Around 10am, the demonstrators held a brief press conference, then decided to open up the building. The police reportedly set the alarm off in the building. Reportedly, one of the officers patrolling around Lakeview is Sgt. Barhim Bhatt who killed Raheim Brown last year.
Organizers have announced that a support rally will be held today, Monday, at 4pm at Lakeview, on 746 Grand Ave.
Follow them on twitter.
Monday, 18 June
3:45pm – Police arrived and inspected the building, while an organizer and media joined their tour. Around 20 minutes later the police and their negotiator left the campus through a back entrance.
The UC Regents’ Meeting @ UC Riverside began early today. Most mainstream media were inside the HUB building in which the Regents gathered. While we waited outside, reports from inside were telling that the public comment session was often interrupted by the Regents in their failed attempts to appease the student protesters who only had 1 minute each to express themselves. One comment was that regent Sherry Lansing tried to address the students by the usual means of misdirecting the students efforts towards the capital. The reports were that her comment was “useless and boring”. After the public comment session was done with, the students offered their own meeting via mic check. But the Regents did nothing but hide in another room with very few people allowed in from the public. Police remained inside but did not move to arrest anybody. At around 1 p.m. everybody was running from the front doors of the HUB to the back doors through which the Regents were supposed to make their quick escape. Students took over a staircase and then another as police in riot gear blocked their way. Administrators were seen at the windows and balconies of the buildings while talking on their cell phones, taking video, and laughing at the people below them.
The police issued several orders to disperse and every time the students booed them and asked them “Why do we need to disperse? Give us a reason!” But the police only managed to repeat the same statement over and over. At one point the Chancellor of UC Riverside, Timothy P. White was seen on the balcony and was confronted by students asking to be allowed into the building and to the meeting. Upon being recognized, he quickly left the balcony and went back inside the building to never be seen again.
Later in the day, at around 3:30 p.m. the students were notified by scouts that the police were gathering in the back to make way for the exit of the Regents. Students split their ranks and took both exits, but no Regents were seen. At 4:30 p.m. (give or take) the Riverside Police Department sent in re-enforcements and the police line started their push back on the back side of the HUB building next to the parking lot.
Rubber bullets and pepper balls were fired. The police was chased over to the other side of the building. Over 5 people were arrested and there was a rumor that a fence was thrown at the riot police.
The charges that some people have received are the following: (Felony) Assault with a deadly weapon ($25,000 bail).
From a friend of the arrested: “[My friend] was arrested at the UC Riverside Regents meeting today. [He] is a lecturer and member of UC-AFT (the union I work for) at UCR, a well-known artist, and prominent critic of the UC system, including the Regents and President Yudof. I apologize if this is too informal but I know many of you know [him] personally and many more know of him and his work. My coworker at UCR is working to secure union funds to bail him out so that he’s not held over the weekend. I don’t have a lot more details than this, especially concerning his charges or bail, but I do know from hearing witnesses that he was sitting down when police approached him and arbitrarily arrested him, and I’m absolutely sure, as many of you likely are too, that he was arrested because of his dissent, not for any real ‘crime’.” ]
CALIFORNIA – Statewide demonstrations for March 1st-5th are being organized at all levels of public education over unending budget cuts and austerity measures. Demonstrations are planned for individual school campuses on March 1st. Students at UC Santa Cruz have already announced plans to hold a strike. Efforts are being made to “occupy the capitol” on March 5th.
WESTWOOD, California – Students at UCLA have organized #OccupyUCLA for today in response to police raids and brutality and UC Berkeley and UC Davis occupations, as well as acting in solidarity with #OccupyWallStreet.
1:15pm – watch it on livestream.
8:00pm – Encampment is expected to be raided tonight. General Assembly is scheduled for 9pm.
Friday, 18 November
12:20am – So far no police to be seen, but students are expecting a late night raid like the one in Berkeley yesterday. 30 USC students just marched into the General Assembly, growing the numbers to well over 250. There’s not enough tents for all the people here.
5:00am – Around 60 police in riot gear arrived, leading to 14 students being arrested. In response, a GA has been called for 3pm Friday at Angela Davis Plaza.
10:30am – The 14 (including grad students, undergrads, and alumni) are still being held at the campus police station but will be released soon. Charges include unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.
CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina – Earlier, a contingent of #OccupyChapelHill took over an empty building. However, a few hours ago a few dozen police came to evict the occupation with what appears to be guns and automatic rifles.
CALIFORNIA – On Wednesday, students, teachers, and workers across the state protested to refund public education. Among the more severe police repression occurred at UC Berkeley, when students tried to set up tents on a campus lawn in conjunction with the #OccupyWallStreet movement. Police beat demonstrators with batons and removed tents, only to have demonstrators return and try to defend another set of tents. Demonstrators and police clashed again, resulting in approximately a total of 39 arrests through out the day. One demonstrator is reportedly in urgent care. Demonstrators gathered late at night and voted for a strike next Tuesday in response.
OAKLAND, California – Several hundred demonstrators began marching through Oakland at around 8:15pm on Saturday, wearing all black to mourn for Oscar Grant and all victims of police brutality. Police wore gas masks, even from the beginning of the march.
8:50pm – Police blocking demonstrators from getting to OPD headquarters.
8:55pm – Around 500-1000 demonstrators amassed in front of a few thin lines of police standing between them and OPD headquarters. The police won’t let them pass Clay st.
9:05pm – They’re on the move again, up 8th, but police are blocking them from getting any close to OPD headquarters, jail, and the county buildings.
9:26pm – On 17th and Broadway chanting, “New York is Oakland. Oakland is New York. Egypt is Oakland. Oakland is Egypt. Denver is Oakland. Oakland is Denver. Greece is Oakland. Oakland is Greece. Chile is Oakland. Oakland is Chile. Africa is Oakland. Oakland is Africa.”
9:30pm – Chanting, “We’re Scott Olsen.”
9:40pm – Marching down West Grand.
9:50pm – “We are all Oscar Grant.”
10:20pm – A brief, but intense confrontation with the police on Brush st. as several squad cars pulled up and a dozen or so riot police forced the crowd away — presumably from the highway. The crowd moved on, back towards downtown.
10:30pm – 14th and Broadway, in front of Oscar Grant Plaza. Moments ago, police recruiting station window smashed.
Oakland Takes Out The Trash.
Tuesday, 3am – 7am
On Monday, October 24th the second weekend of #OccupyOakland had come and gone; charisma from Saturday’s march [link] had passed and a police raid was imminent. Beyond popular speculation that the city and the police were planning the destruction of Oscar Grant Plaza, there were a few obvious clues that Monday night would be the night. For one, the city had issued letters to select businesses around the plaza suggesting that there would be police activities sometime in the coming day. In addition, the city seems to have forced the Fire Marshall to come to the occupation to “remove” the propane tanks (and thus restricting us from cooking on site).
Before the rubber bullets and concussion grenades, the hundred or so arrests and unrelenting spider mobs that saturated downtown Oakland, there was joyous, eager barricading. It was trash night. The already desolate streets surrounding Oscar Grant Plaza were quickly cleared of whatever debris could act (symbolically and/or effectively) as an impediment to the police. Locked in an alley of City Hall were nearly one hundred metal police barricades. They were quickly liberated from their cage and placed strategically around the encampment. Reports trickled in slowly: several police units, from many agencies all the way out to Vacaville, were mobilizing and traveling to the plaza via motorcade or BART. Arguments broke out at the occupation – some called for a united strategy of defense, while many continued building barricades, spray painting and hammering away at the cobblestone floor. Eventually, around 4am, the distant sirens quickly turned into dozens of police units in formation, giving dispersal orders before attacking the encampment.
There was hopeful but little supposition that these people and barricades could deter the police, let alone defend the camp. When the spotlights from police helicopters began indiscriminately scanning the plaza, a panic fevered the already frantic people. It took only moments to realize that to stay inside the plaza was hopeless. Those intent on posturing and symbolically “standing their ground”, were subject to projectiles, batons and ultimately arrest. The scene was panicked, oppressive and defeating. For now, the fight for the plaza had been lost and most everyone inside dispersed.
Outside police lines, many looked to reconvene, others arrived responding to the emergency text messages and phone calls they’d received from others – they found each other at 14th and Franklin, one block east of the plaza. To the police it was clear that this massing crowd would not be reduced to impotent spectators. Moving away from the sidewalks into the street, what was now the morning traffic detour route, the intersection filled with hateful slogans directed at the police. There was a startling impatience and lust for revenge. It had grown to nearly 200 people when a police motorcade was ordered to intimidate and disperse the crowd. Shape shifting and turning over trash cans, the group headed in the opposite direction. Shouts of excitement, more seething remarks toward the police and a medley of thudding and crashing filled the streets. The police came prepared to assault the plaza, not to be met with the consequences of doing so. From 5am to 6am the streets east of the plaza held a familiarity to some and an unprecedented emotion for others.
An offensive decision by the city and its allies brought opportunity to those subject to their increasingly irrelevant authority. Tuesday morning, the city took to actively discouraging people from going to work in the downtown area. Despite this official suggestion, one could overhear security guards, baristas and other service workers phoning into work announcing their absence on their own initiative. Someone initiated a campaign to eject Jean Quan from her position as mayor. Tweets and texts exploded with announcements to rally at the downtown Oakland Library at 4pm. The Alameda County Labor Council among other local unions had publicly denounced the actions of the police and the city.
Yet to take shape as either a spectacle or rebellion, The Town, once again, opened itself to the freedoms found in possibilities.
Library. Riot. Continued.
Tuesday, 4pm – Midnight
12 hours later, the contingency plan approved by the GA in case of a raid, was put into place. At 4pm, close to 1000 people gathered at the main Oakland Library to listen to inspirational speeches and condemnations against the police. One could not avoid the general feeling of animosity towards those responsible for what happened last night. Something spectacular was going to happen tonight.
After the speeches, people marched to the Downtown jail to show support for those arrested the previous night. Along the way, the march passed through two separate lines of police, but on the third one, as the march was a block away from the jail, the police pushed back. They grabbed two people from the front of the march and threw them to the ground. Seeing this, the crowd immediately surrounded the cops yelling at them, trying to grab the comrades and free them. People pushed and paint was thrown. As the tension continued to escalate, the police knew they were fighting a losing battle, so they brought in reinforcements with tear gas and flash grenades to disperse the crowd. Those being arrested initially, amongst the chaos, were secured by the pigs and loaded into a van. One of the arrestees was fucked with while in jail, called racist slurs and physically harassed. How could we not hate the police?
Throughout the arrests of Occupy Oakland’s resistance, we demonstrate solidarity with the state’s hostages in a multitude of ways, emotionally and physically. The march regrouped and proceeded past the jail making noise and letting those inside – every single one of them – aware that the march was here for them in total solidarity. A comrade who has been released from jail, arrested the previous night, said that it was one of the most beautiful and powerful things they have ever seen. To hear and see 1000 people outside making noise, making their solidarity known to those on the inside. Solidarity means attack.
The march returned to Oscar Grant Plaza where the group proceeded to try and retake the plaza. After 20 minutes of confronting the police at 14th and Broadway, rounds of tear gas and flash grenades were used once again (there would be somewhere around seven different instances of the police using tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The crowd did not deteriorate this time nor any other).
This was only the beginning…
This first major tear gassing was also the incident were a veteran was hit in the head with a tear gas canister and either knocking him out or causing his system to go in shock – he was on the ground in front of the police with eyes open, not moving and not responding to anything. People immediately ran up to him and tried to get him out of the way, which is when the police throw another flash grenade directly on top of him and near those who responded in aid. This bears repeating: the police throw a flash grenade directly on someone that was lying motionless on the ground, dispersing the crowd that was trying to take him out of the warzone. The injured protester was eventually removed and taken to the hospital with a skull fracture and is currently in critical condition and undergoing surgery. Many were injured. Not everyone has reported their injuries for obvious reasons.
By this point, the march had doubled to more than 2000 people. The group marched to Snow Park to gather, but it wasn’t long until people marched back on the plaza again. In what became the standard of the night, the march confronted the militarized area formerly known as Oscar Grant Plaza and was met with tear gas and flash grenades causing people to faint and throw up. But this didn’t stop anyone; it only galvanized the crowd and incited many at home to head downtown and join the resistance.
The march started at 5 and lasted until late into the night with over 6 hours of snake marches and almost constant confrontation with the police throughout downtown.
Towards the end of the night, people began to worry about being kettled, so some people took it upon themselves to set up barricades around the surrounding intersections. This action would allow people to respond before being trapped, by either getting away or fighting back. The barricades included the city’s own barricades that were established throughout the area, dumpsters and trash cans (some of these were set aflame to relieve the lingering tear gas present throughout all of the downtown and to cause more trouble for the police if they dared to intimidate or assault crowd).
As the night went on, the group slowly dissipated, confident that this fight was not close to over.
The Retaking of Oscar Grant Plaza.
Wednesday, 6pm – Midnight
It was obvious to everyone the previous night that people were heading back to Oscar Grant Plaza. By this time, police were nowhere to be seen around the plaza. The only thing that was there was a metal fence erected around the spot of the occupation. Well, it only lasted a little while. Before the General Assembly even started, people spontaneously began to tear down the fence. Initially, some “peace police,” spouting something about non-violence were trying to get them to stop – that was of course to no avail as the fence quickly was torn down.
The GA that happened that night was the largest one yet for #OccupyOakland, with over 2000 people participating. Since it was such a large GA, everything took more time, but the one proposal that was passed was worth it all. Following announcements that various occupations around the US were participating in solidarity marches, and that people in Cairo are going to march on Tahrir square this Friday saying that “Cairo and Oakland are one hand,” the proposal to call for a General Strike this Wednesday, November 2nd was passed with overwhelming majority (97%). Get ready Oakland, shits about to get real….
Following the GA, people announced that OccupySF was under threat of eviction. People made a call out for people to go to San Francisco and make their solidarity physical. But this wouldn’t happen. Before people could even make it into BART, the station was closed. Pissed, the small group that was heading to SF instead took to the streets in Oakland where the rest of the GA, who was still around, joined them. The march immediately headed towards the jail to show solidarity with those still inside. Everyone could see the inmates hands on the windows and the flickering of their cell lights, letting us know that they see us.
Over the next couple of hours, the group marched around downtown Oakland with no police interference. There were reports of police staging close by, but they never made themselves visible more than a few cars in front and back. After the previous night, they realized how badly they fucked up. Tonight, we controlled the streets. It finally ended in Oscar Grant Plaza, with people just chilling, standing and sitting in the middle of 14th and Broadway (the main downtown intersection), with no attempt by the cops to disperse the crowd.
As the proposed General Strike is just but a week away, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of connections to be established and strengthened. Some people began to set up camp again at Oscar Grant Plaza, but others are merely taking this time to rest, to regroup, to gather themselves for what is to come.
Get some rest comrade. We have yet to see what’s around the corner…