Posts Tagged Occupy Oakland
Last night, while trying to retake Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, Occupy Oakland’s protesters were gassed by police who, according to Police Chief Howard Jordan, had no choice and were just doing their job. Is that like what the National Guard did at Kent State so many years ago?
Yes, maybe the previous sentence was rather heavy-handed. And I can hear conservatives spouting off about how you have to obey the police. If they tell you to disperse, you disperse. These unwashed hippies have no right to impede public use of areas they choose to occupy, and the police have every right to use force to move them, if necessary. But lets look at yesterday more closely.
The police originally kicked the protesters out of Ogawa Plaza Tuesday morning. Why? What about the right to assemble inherent in the constitution? Police arrested almost one hundred people in that initial raid, and succeeded in rousting the protesters from their encampment.
Then last night, about five hundred protesters gathered in front of the local Public Library with the intent of taking back Ogawa Plaza, and their campsite. This the police would not allow. Because of the sheer number of protesters, and supposed bottle and rock throwing, police decided to use tear gas, thus escalating an already precarious situation. Why didn’t they just leave the protesters alone in the first place?
Our once great nation was founded on protest. The Boston Tea Party, taxation without representation and laws being passed in England to suppress the colonists were just some of the problems we rose up against. Now, short-sighted Americans want to take away the right of these people to protest, simply because they find the protests – and the protesters – repugnant? If you advocate for the government to set limits on protests, and we have seen much of this over the last ten years, you are advocating for the loss of some of your own rights. What can be used against your so-called enemies today can be turned against you tomorrow.
It is not only our right to protest perceived injustice, it is our duty.
Conservatives and Tea Heads alike feel that the protesters lack a coherent agenda, want only handouts and entitlements because they are lazy, and in the end are just a bunch of drunk and stoned hippies. Sound familiar?
For those of you old enough to remember the Vietnam War protests, the establishment categorized those protesters in much the same way as they are doing today. Those in power don’t like protest, because those protesting are trying to change things, and the powers that be don’t want change. Back then, the protesters were tear gassed and beaten regularly, and the violence culminated in the death of four students at Kent State. At the time, conservatives like G. Gordon Liddy said the protesters got what they deserved, but who would now lay claim to that statement? In retrospect, the Vietnam War was a sham, perpetrated on us by our own government. (And one of the main architects of that war, the infamous Robert McNamara, recently came out and apologized for his part in selling it to the American people.)
Yesterday, two protesters were admitted to local hospitals with broken hands, and another was admitted with head injuries. Yet I read nothing about police being injured. Why is the violence so often one-sided? And don’t always believe police reports, they are often works of fiction.
(Years ago, in my youth, I was arrested outside a high school basketball game, with a few others, from amongst a group of people. When I was brought to court the police report was read into the record, and it covered bottle and rock throwing, damage to a police car, inciting mob violence, and other such activities. In reality, we were standing outside a sold out gym trying to get updates on the score. No rocks or bottles were thrown, no police cars were damaged and no mobs were incited. Hell, we weren’t even unruly. Yet, we were arrested for no other reason than the police didn’t want us near the gym.)
What these protesters want is a level playing field. They want the same opportunities their parents had at a better life. We all want better for our children, but I am beginning to think ours was the last generation with that possibility. Now, you are expected to take any job imaginable, and be happy for the privilege of doing so. We are no longer a consumer driven economy, but a service driven economy, and service sector jobs pay dismally. No one will be able to get ahead in those jobs. It will be a weekly fight to keep ones head above water. Is that what the America people want?
Now that the violence has escalated, how long before someone gets killed during one of these protests? And I guarantee it won’t be a police officer. It never is.
- Police allegedly use tear gas and percussion grenades against Occupy Oakland protesters (100gf.wordpress.com)
- A report from yesterday’s protests [Thoughts from Kansas] (scienceblogs.com)
- Occupy Oakland – the key tweets, videos and photographs (guardian.co.uk)
- Police End Free Speech at Occupy Oakland CA (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
- Shocking Photos & Video From Occupy Oakland (thedailybeast.com)
- Occupy Oakland – tell us what happened (guardian.co.uk)
- Occupy Oakland protests – live coverage (guardian.co.uk)
- Police Open Fire on Veteran At Occupy Oakland Protests (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
- Occupy Oakland Crackdown: Cop War-Zone Tactics? (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
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