But May Day was also one in which thousands attended mostly peaceful, non-violent protests in support of immigrants, workers and others who comprise the 99 percent of Americans who feel they are at the mercy of an unregulated capitalist system run amok by unfettered greed and political corruption, a system that benefits the few over the expense of the many.
Four barbecues are scheduled through mid-April, with the March 17 event from noon to 5 p.m. at Arroyo Viejo Park, 7701 Krause St. in East Oakland near Bancroft and 77th streets. All will include free food, arts and crafts, music, a children’s play area, literature and workshops.
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin made a morning visit to St. Mark’s Church, the first overnight stop in the four-day Occupy Education march from the Bay Area to Sacramento. The group plans to reach UC Davis Sunday and board busses to join large demonstrations at the capitol Monday. About 100 people signed up for the march, with some joining at stops along the way, according to march organizers.
Club general manager Jerry Olson said the march is a sign the union is getting desperate. However, he admitted that many clients have canceled since the lockout, although he insisted the club has acquired new members and continues to turn a profit. He did not offer specifics.
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
Still, most of the couple hundred attending directed the energy against cops. The event came after the Jan. 28 Move-In Day in which demonstrators tried taking over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center to establish a new headquarters, and clashed with police into the night. The vast majority of the some 400 arrested were at a nearby YMCA. Police say demonstrators tried breaking into the building. Demonstrators said police cornered and brutalized them, and that workers allowed them in to escape. At the end of the night a small group broke into and vandalized city hall.
Before it was over early Sunday, demonstrators had broken into City Hall, pelted police with rocks, and were thrice turned back from establishing a new headquarters. Police responded with tear gas, flash grenades, bean bag bullets and, at times, excessive force. By days end, more than 300 people were arrested. Several injuries were reported, involving both police and protesters.
The day was organized by Occupy SF and numerous other groups. It started before sunrise, with sometimes overlapping demonstrations focusing on corporate greed, foreclosures, war and immigration crackdowns. Demonstrators noted their connections, such as profits from building incarceration facilities. There were a few breaks, but for the most part the rain was constant.