Successful General Strike in Oakland Marred by Late-Night Vandalism, Tear Gas
Editor’s Note: #Occupy Supply got a great sendoff today with a detailed post from Jane. Then it was featured at HuffPo in Hayley Miller’s ‘Occupy Supply’ And Demand: FireDogLake Organizes To Keep Occupiers Warm Through Winter. Salem-News.com also picked it up, Occupy Wall Street Gets Winterized. Our friend ET even spread the word up in the frigid realms of Progressive Alaska. So pass the links around, let’s snowball this and keep the #Occupiers warm throughout the winter. And since it’s Union Made in the U.S.A., it warms twice that way. Donate! We have only just begun this fight.
Depending on what you read, the Occupy Oakland protests last night were either a resounding success or a chaotic mess. Let’s piece together what happened.
At 5:00, thousands of protesters marched to the Port of Oakland, with the intention of shutting it down. They were successful in that, holding the port and blocking entry. Protesters spent hours in the streets in peaceful demonstrations. Earlier in the day there were a few acts of vandalism, but protesters formed a human chain around Whole Foods to prohibit any more (there was a false rumor about that Whole Foods workers would lose their jobs if they joined the protests). Then everything broke down:
But at around midnight, the peaceful protests that had marked the day devolved into something uglier. It began when a group of activists “occupied” an abandoned building. Soon after, word spread that police were preparing to evict the squatters. A call went out to defend the site, and about 100-200 people answered it, filling the street a few blocks away where the building was located and erecting a barricade out of whatever was at hand in an effort to prevent police from reaching the scene.
About an hour later, 16 vans filled with police clad in riot gear arrived at an adjacent corner and began to stage. They formed into several lines and prepared to move in (forgive the blurry pictures).
At that point, somebody set the barrier on fire, an order to disperse was given, and for the next 2-3 hours, a series of clashes followed in which numerous rounds of teargas, flash-bangs and non-lethal rounds were fired at protesters.
So what was a peaceful day of action instead delivered headlines like “Peaceful Occupy protests degenerate into chaos.” The protesters who entered the building were arrested, four others had to go to area hospitals, and despite 7,000 participants in the first general strike in six decades, it will be remembered for vandalism and tear gas and clashes with police.
A car struck two Occupy Oakland protesters tonight as they marched with a crowd along Broadway, and an angry mob surrounded the car as emergency workers tended to the injured.
The driver, who was not identified, sat in his silver Mercedes-Benz sedan after the 7:30 p.m. incident while hundreds of people screamed at him through his closed windows.
The guy had a green light, what do you want him to do?
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, police used pepper spray on peaceful protesters who had locked arms on the ground. The bid to use aggressive law enforcement tactics and disrupt the constitutional right to freedom of assembly continues.