Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Lakeview Elementary Raided

3 July 2012

OAKLAND, California – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) shut the doors to 5 elementary schools in June reportedly due to budget cuts. As community members including teachers and parents first heard about the proposed shuttering of the schools over a year ago, they began organizing against the school closures. The 5 schools closed were all in areas of the city home to low-income families of color.

On June 15, parents, teachers and some children established a camp outside the Lakeview Elementary campus in protest. In a matter of days, demonstrators reopened the school building and established a summer program open to all children, supported by teachers working voluntarily. Although concerns of police raids were raised, no immediate action was taken by police other than giving a dispersal order in paper form. Over the next two weeks, the occupied Lakeview summer school taught a number of different subjects to some 30 students.

Around 4 in the morning on July 3rd, Lakeview Elementary was raided by police, resulting in 2 arrests. In response, Lakeview organizers are requesting supporters to join them at 5pm today for a march.

Related:

UC Berkeley Police to purchase Armored Vehicle

25 June 2012

BERKELEY, California – The UC Berkeley Police department is using funds from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase an armored vehicle known as the bearcat. In previous protests in the East Bay, armored vehicles often referred to as “tanks” have been seen in use, as recently as May Day 2012 in Oakland, as well as during Oscar Grant protests. Both the Alameda County Sheriffs and Union City reportedly own armored vehicles for “crowd control” purposes. The new addition for UCBPD will also be shared by Albany and Berkeley police. (via reclaimUC)

Update:

UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau cancelled the order for the armored vehicle!

Lakeview Elementary Building Occupied

18 June 2012

Tents at Lakeview Elementary Sit-in

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].

In front of the Front Doors of Lakeview Elementary

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.

Update:

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.

Lakeview Elementary Sit-in

16 June 2012

OAKLAND, California – As multiple schools in Oakland are closing due to budget cuts, parents and teachers have decided to hold a sit-in at one of the schools being closed.

On June 15th, after the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly black and brown children. We say no more excuses! We’re keeping the schools open the last way left to us, by sitting-in. But we cannot do this alone. We need your support! Demand the district and the politicians give us full funding for quality education in neighborhood public schools. Join the fight for our kids’ futures! Read more.

Related News:

Gill Tract Farm Raided

14 May 2012

ALBANY, California – Early Monday morning, around 80 Alameda County Sheriffs and UCPD raided the Gill Tract Farm and arrested demonstrators. The farm was established on April 22nd at a vacant lot owned by the University of California. Despite dialogue and signs of progress, the UC gradually began locking gates and blocking access to the urban farm last week. The UC expressed concerns over the periodical use of the land for research, to which occupiers and some UC researchers responded by agreeing to work together to find an amenable solution to allow coexistence. Around 7am, the police declared the area an unlawful assembly and summarily arrested those in the encampment.

A re-convergence action has been organized for 5pm, Tuesday at the Albany Library, 1249 Marin Ave.

Related:

Police Lockdown the Gill Tract Farm Occupation

9 May 2012

ALBANY, California – On April 22nd, a few hundred demonstrators broke ground at the Gill Tract empty lot on San Pablo and Marin and established a guerrilla garden. The land owned by the University of California, Berkeley, was periodically used for agricultural research, but was otherwise untouched. Community activists have spent a decade in dialogue with the university to open the land to the public. However, talk of selling the land to build a strip mall on this high grade agricultural soil launched demonstrators into action. On the 22nd, demonstrators tilled the land, transplanted seedlings, established chicken coops, set up tents, organized events and workshops, and inspired the community to flourish.

Although support for the new community farm flooded in from neighbors and members of the University of California, administrators at the UC threatened eviction multiple times through the course of the next two weeks, and then last week they finally gave demonstrators an ultimatum. Around 7am on May 9th, the UCPD [locked the west gates and placed concrete barricades to prevent vehicular traffic].

Update:

8:00am – The UCPD told press that they are only restricting vehicular access, and that the East entrance is still accessible. (via Susie Cagle)

10 May, Thursday

Around noon, UCPD closed the last remaining pedestrian gate. However no arrests have been made as of Thursday night. Read more.

Read more:

May Day 2012

1 May 2012

OAKLAND, California – Demonstrations for International Worker’s Day began in Oakland with scheduled actions focusing on anti-gentrification, anti-capitalism, and anti-patriarchy. Demonstrations began around 8:30am at different locations through out the city. By early morning, banners hung from several overpasses along 980 and other freeways.

A number of arrests occurred in the morning, particularly at the anti-capitalism march. Around 11:30am, the anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchy marches converged on 14th & Broadway (adjacent to Oscar Grant Plaza), where dozens of marchers embraced each other, cheers rang out, and people danced in the streets.

Shortly afterwards, the crowd was informed that banks in downtown were still open despite targeted shutdowns by the anti-capitalist march earlier. A crowd of some 400 on 14th and Broadway responded by heading north up Broadway to shut the bank branches down. The march successfully entered a few banks, but were stopped by police in riot gear along much of the march. The marchers were prevented from turning down several roads, until eventually pouring out onto Lakeside Dr. As the march passed the Bank of America branch, more police spilled in front of the wide glass exterior. After some tagging and vandalism, the march continued back to Oscar Grant Plaza. During the return to the Plaza, the police brazenly entered the crowd near 15th and Broadway, partly splitting the crowd in two without apparent purpose.

As the crowd reached 14th and Broadway, police attempted to evict the demonstrators from the intersection reportedly using flash-bang grenades, tazers, batons, and other “non-lethal” weapons. [Several people were arrested during the altercation with police, including some who were injured and taken to the hospital].

By around 1pm, the crowd swelled to about 1500 demonstrators at Oscar Grant Plaza for a rally. Police continued apparent intimidation tactics by forming police lines at various walkways into the Plaza, making their presence felt within the former perimeter of last Fall’s tent city. Around 2pm, police evicted demonstrators from Oscar Grant Plaza; some left to join the march leaving from East Oakland, while others seemed to disappear into other parts of downtown. During this confrontation, Alameda County Sheriffs deployed an armored vehicle equipped with what appeared to be LRAD sound cannons.

Around 3:30pm, a march left from Fruitvale BART station to head toward Oscar Grant Plaza. By 4pm, the march had reportedly swelled to thousands strong, while as many as a [few thousand] wait at San Antonio Park to join the Fruitvale marchers.

Update:

5:10pm – The Fruitvale marchers have arrived at San Antonio Park. As many as 5000 demonstrators now rallying, waiting to continue the march to the Plaza.

Marchers from Fruitvale arrived around an hour later, ending with thousands in the intersection of 14th and Broadway for a rally. As the sun set, numbers dwindled. Notably, police held a heavy presence all afternoon, keeping several dozen officers on the north end of the plaza, as well as on neighboring streets and alleyways.

When darkness fell, the approximately thousand person crowd muddled about on 14th and within the plaza. The heavy police presence and the lack of clear objectives for the evening created a sense of uneasiness in the crowd.

Eventually the tension was cut by a police instigated maneuver, apparently targeting people holding shields constructed of wood and corrugated metal. As the 500-600 strong police force squeezed into 14th and Broadway from three sides, some demonstrators were trampled and arrested. Police reformed lines multiple times, gave multiple dispersal orders and eventually pushed the crowd north on Broadway towards 15th. In the final standoff, the police charged the crowd, viciously tackling and beating protestors to the ground. The remnant several hundred traveled further north along Broadway or scattered.

For the next several hours hundreds of police roved through streets on foot, on motorcycle, in squad cars, and in rented white vans. The police targeted previously arrested and well known Occupy Oakland demonstrators, while playing a cat and mouse game with the larger groups vandalizing property.

As the night wore on, a few hundred demonstrators returned to 14th and Broadway. However, police were eventually able to separate and push demonstrators away from the intersection. Notably, a few dozen police on motorcycles aligned themselves next to the demonstrators and began loudly revving their engines and blasting their sirens.

LOS ANGELES, California – Some 1200 United Service Workers West Union members have shut down normal operation of some terminals at LAX. Traffic has remained tenuous through out the day with dozens of marches.  There have been small altercations with police throughout the day with a few possible arrests, but police are allowing protesters to gather at Pershing Square in Downtown LA for the evening events.

Read more:

SAN FRANCISCO, California – Despite the high anticipations for the Golden Gate Bridge shutdown, plans to occupy the bridge were called off only days before May 1st. However, Ferry service in SF was shut down due to striking workers. In the early afternoon, the 888 Turk building was reoccupied.

Update:

  • #888Turk was raided before dawn on May 2nd. Read more.

Related:

The Strike Started Early

30 April 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, California – On Monday night, in anticipation of May Day, demonstrators gathered in Dolores Park to “counter gentrification, capitalism, and the policing of our communities.” The gathering began around 8pm. Following dusk, the black clad group of 150 or so descended from the park to Dolores st.

As the group turned down streets and passed several city blocks, the sounds of smashing windows and hissing flares filled the air. Expensive cars, a police department, yuppie storefronts were all hit. When police cars drove into the crowd on two occasions, their windows and doors were hit with volleys of rocks and paint filled balloons.

Many passers-by and observers when informed of the crowd’s intentions seemed enthusiastic. One random observer even commented, “an unruly mob? It’s about time.”

The trail of broken glass and paint ended 40 minutes later on South Van Ness when a few dozen police in riot gear finally arrived. At least one person behind police lines documenting the police was arrested.

Related:

M1: Golden Gate Shutdown Called Off

28 April 2012

from OccupyTheBridge:

Throughout the planning of Occupy the Bridge we have taken leadership and guidance from the workers directly involved in this struggle.  It has recently come to our attention that the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition would like to redirect all efforts towards supporting May Day strike actions and picket lines.  Our goal has always been to support and empower the workers on the bridge and we are happy to continue our efforts in whatever direction they see fit.  This Mayday we look forward to seeing strong, powerful picket lines, unlike anything the Golden Gate Bridge bosses have seen before.

There will still be a 7am labor rally at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza.  Buses will depart from 19th and Telegraph in Oakland and San Francisco City Hall at 6am on May Day to deliver supporters to picket locations.  Picket line locations will be publicized at 10pm on Monday, April 30.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 27, 2012

Contacts:

Alex Tonisson, Organizer, Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition, (415) 449-0442

Golden Gate Bridge, Bus, and Ferry Workers Call for Support at

May Day Picket Lines and Ask Supporters to Keep Bridge Open

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition issued the following statement today calling for support in their ongoing fight to protect quality affordable healthcare for workers, families, and retirees:

“We appreciate the tremendous support we’ve received from the public, our brothers and sisters in labor, San Francisco commuters, and allies like Jobs with Justice, Pride at Work, and Occupy San Francisco,” said Alex Tonisson, Organizer and Co-Chair of the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition.

“Bridge, bus, and ferry workers have done everything we can at the bargaining table to reach a fair contract.  As we prepare to take the next step in the fight for quality affordable healthcare for workers, families, and retirees, we ask supporters to stand with us at strike picket lines on May Day, and to keep the bridge open.”

Workers have been in negotiations with Golden Gate Bridge District management since April 2011.  The current contract expired in July 2011 and there have been over 45 bargaining sessions to date.

The Labor Coalition has offered concessions worth an estimated $2 million each year.  Although Golden Gate Bridge District management has acknowledged that the financial needs of the district have been met, they are still seeking to push rising healthcare costs onto workers and their families.

Buses will still depart from 19th and Telegraph in Oakland and San Francisco City Hall at 6am on May Day to the picket sites.  Picket line locations will be publicized at 10pm on Monday, April 30.

###

The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition is made up of over 380 bridge, bus, and ferry workers who help San Francisco commuters get to work safely each day.  Bridge, bus, and ferry workers belong to 14 unions including the Inlandboatmen’s Union, MEBA  D-1, Operating Engineers, Teamsters #665, Machinists, Ironworkers, Laborers, Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Cement Masons, IFPTE Local21, Transport Workers, Teamsters #856.

Related:

Occupy the Farm: Gill Tract Farm

22 April 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 22, 2012

Occupy the Farm Activists Reclaim Prime Urban Agricultural Land in SF Bay Area

Contact: GillTractFarm@riseup.net

(Albany, Calif.), April 22, 2012 – Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers.

For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education. With deliberate disregard for public interest, the University administrators plan to pave over this prime agricultural soil for commercial retail space, a Whole Foods, and a parking lot.

“For ten years people in Albany have tried to turn the Gill Tract into an Urban Farm and a more open space for the community. The people in the Bay Area deserve to use this treasure of land for an urban farm to help secure the future of our children,” explains Jackie Hermes-Fletcher, an Albany resident and public school teacher for 38 years.

Occupy the Farm seeks to address structural problems with health and inequalities in the Bay Area that stem from communities’ lack of access to food and land. Today’s action reclaims the Gill Tract to demonstrate and exercise the peoples’ right to use public space for the public good. This farm will serve as a hub for urban agriculture, a healthy and affordable food source for Bay Area residents and an educational center.

“Every piece of uncontaminated urban land needs to be farmed if we are to reclaim control over how food is grown, where it comes from, and who it goes to,” says Anya Kamenskaya, UC Berkeley alum and educator of urban agriculture. “We can farm underutilized spaces such as these to create alternatives to the corporate control of our food system.”

UC Berkeley has decided to privatize this unique public asset for commercial retail space, and, ironically, a high-end grocery store. This is only the latest in a string of privatization schemes. Over the last several decades, the university has increasingly shifted use of the Gill Tract away from sustainable agriculture and towards biotechnology with funding from corporations such as Novartis and BP.

Frustrated that traditional dialogue has fallen on deaf ears, many of these same local residents, students, and professors have united as Occupy the Farm to Take Back the Gill Tract. This group is working to empower communities to control their own resilient food systems for a stable and just future – a concept and practice known as food sovereignty.

Occupy the Farm is in solidarity with Via Campesina and the Movimiento Sin Tierra (Landless Workers Movement).

The Gill Tract is located at the Berkeley-Albany border, at the intersection of San Pablo Ave and Marin Ave.

• Join us: Come dressed to work! We need people to help till the soil, plant seedlings, teach workshops, and more.

• Donate/lend: We need shovels, rakes, pickaxes, rototillers, drip irrigation tape, gloves, hats, food, and anything else farming related!

• Monetary donations can be sent through our website at www.takebackthetract.com

(via reclaimUC)

Demonstrators Shutdown Downtown Stockton and Resist Police

17 April 2012

STOCKTON, California – On April 10th, hundreds of angry demonstrators converged first outside of the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office and then outside of the Stockton Police Department before marching to rally and hold a BBQ at Martin Luther King Jr. park in Stockton. The demonstration lasted for several hours with key intersections being blocked forcing several downtown business to close their doors. Police, who attempted to move the crowd out of the street drove police cars into the crowd, only to have protesters swarm the cruisers, pounding and kicking them. Police report one vehicle was “vandalized with permanent marker and dented.” (via ModestoAnarcho. Read More)

Vacant SF Building Occupied

1 April 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, California – A building that has been vacant for the past five years in San Francisco was occupied during the late afternoon on Sunday by organizers associated with OccupySF. After a rally and march beginning at Union Square, demonstrators eventually arrived at the building with opened doors. The building located at 888 Turk St., reportedly a former mental health center, has been expropriated from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and dubbed the SF Commune. A flyer released by organizers reads that,

We understand The Archdiocese of San Francisco and it’s subsidiary, Real Property Support Corporation have kept this space at 888 Turk St. vacant for 5 years, while those of us seeking shelter are forced to sleep outside. We will not tolerate the systems that force 7,000 San Franciscan’s to remain homeless while over 30,000 housing units sit vacant.

According to mainstream news, the Archdiocese has requested that police not take immediate action until they review the situation the next morning. Occupiers are planning to turn the empty building into a social center. A post from OccupySF reads that,

This Turk St. building is owned by the Church and the owners, therefore, pay no property tax for it.  It has been vacant and unused for over five years and no services have been provided here. Further, the owners have failed to register the building as vacant, avoiding their duty to pay vacancy fees to the public coffers. The building is now occupied by a group of people willing to offer services such as food, housing, education, and community-building skills for free.

Updates:

Monday, April 2

9am: Police have cordoned off the area, blocking anyone from reaching the doors of 888 Turk st.

~1:45pm: Police are raiding the occupation.

2:25pm: Growing crowd outside police line chanting, “Long live the SF Commune!”

~6:30pm: Around 50-100 people marched down to the jail to wait for arrestees to be released. Most arrestees were charged with misdemeanor trespassing. [Some arraignments are scheduled for April 10th, some are scheduled for as late as May 1st.]

More:

Criminal Charges To Be Filed Against UC Davis Bank Protesters

30 March 2012

DAVIS, California – Misdemeanor charges will likely be filed against 12 people connected to the on-campus U.S. Bank protests, according to an email circulated among UC Davis administration Thursday evening. The protests were part of an effort to get US Bank off campus, which is eventually what happened. (via reclaimuc)

19,500 Public School Teachers Pink Slipped

16 March 2012

CALIFORNIA – According to the California Teachers Association, some 19,500 public school teachers have received pink slips this week in California.

Read more:

March 1st Day of Action

1 March 2012

SANTA CRUZ, California – Around 4am Thursday morning, demonstrators shut down all entrances to the UC Santa Cruz campus. As of 5:30am, there are already several hundred demonstrators scattered across the campus entrances.

Updates:

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5:00pm- Demonstrators have kept the UCSC campus shutdown for the entire day with only a handful of reports that some workers were forced through. There are about 300 people at one of the entrances to campus. It rained continuously from early in the morning until a few hours ago, but hundreds of demonstrators have stayed.

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8pm – Demonstrators end the shutdown.

SAN DIEGO, California – UCSD demonstrators held a rally at 11:30am which garnered some 250 participants. Demonstrators then proceeded to march to the UCSD Chancellor’s complex and have occupied a conference room with a list of demands directed at UCSD, the UC system, and nationwide. (some contributions via Cuntrastamu!)

Read more:

  • A report on actions at SDSU, Mesa College, UCSD, City College – OB Rag

OAKLAND, California – Demonstrators from UC Berkeley joined demonstrators from Laney College in Oscar Grant Plaza for a rally with some 350 people. After the rally, a march from Oakland to Sacramento started in order to meet the March 5th demonstration at the capitol on Monday. Read one the speeches given at Oscar Grant Plaza here.

Read more:

Related news:

  • Four days later on March 5th, hundreds gathered at the state capitol in Sacramento to protest continued cuts to public education. A sit-in inside the capitol building lead to 72 arrests.