By Justin Ryan, guest contributor
Editor’s Note: Mr. Ryan attended Occupy Oakland’s “J28″ Move-in Day march, January 28, and last week’s protest against police brutality, February 4.
February 10, 2012
Organized by the Tactical Action Committee, Occupy Oakland holds a weekly, Saturday evening “FTP march against Police Brutality”, gathering around 7pm and leaving around 9pm from Oscar Grant Plaza at 14th & Broadway. It is arguable that these continued actions have helped to keep Occupy Oakland alive, as the Oakland Police Department have made it difficult for Occupy Oakland to stage more positive, family-friendly actions.
Following Occupy Oakland’s J28 “Move-in Day” action, which resulted in hundreds of arrests and rampant reports of police brutality and human rights violations against mostly peaceful protesters, there has been a great deal of frustration and tension within the broader movement, Oakland, and the SF Bay Area at large. Occupy Oakland held its’ regularly scheduled weekly march against Police Brutality while many of us were still kettled and/or in transport that night, and a number of us who did not normally attend this action discussed within the walls of Glen Dyer and Santa Rita jails that we could no longer abstain from objecting to the brutality of Oakland’s police force.
Discussions about the coming Saturday’s march progressed at court and jail support, as well as on social networks such as Twitter, and a number of Veteran Occupy Oaklanders said that they were not planning to come to this action, many of them noting that J28 had been their second arrest.
Meanwhile, in Syria, Friday Feb 3 was bloody and intensely violent, with gruesome videos circulating the Internet. In San Francisco, at noon on Sat Feb 4, ANSWER coalition, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, and countless other antiwar and peace organizations staged a march down Market St. opposing War in Iran. However, it was at the Occupy Oakland FTP rally, which a number of people attended after the SF antiwar march, that the plight of Syrians was addressed.
This movement is connected and real-time. Occupy Portland marched in solidarity with Occupy Oakland while I had “less lethal” weapons pointed at my head and body, and the following day over 30 cities marched in solidarity, in some cases leading to arrests for peaceful protesting. Occupy Oakland marched in support of Syria and constantly declares that “Cairo and Oakland are one fist!”. I understand that to many people the concept of a bunch of people marching through the streets screaming “Fuck the Police!” may not seem nonviolent, but we had a jolly march through town on the night of February 4.
A member of the Tactical Action Committee told me that they had been approached by the police, who wanted to ensure their opportunity to earn a reported $177 per hour was still intact, even after the obscene tactics their department displayed on Jan 28. If only they were as excited about the opportunity to show up every day and protect the people of Oakland, rather than chase a bunch of shouting demonstrators in tactical gear at night, because they can’t be trusted not to teargas children in daylight.
More Photos from the February 4 Occupy Oakland march against police brutality