Sunday, January 29, 2012

#J28 OccupyOakland Moving Day March 1

Yesterday was one of those days. You set out to provide your friends, neighbors and colleagues a pleasant day with lots of camaraderie, civic good will and kickin music; then it all goes sour before you can blink.

OccupyOakland planned a rally, march and reclamation of a closed building  to provide collaborative space, office space, storage, and safe haven to it's members, media & those in need. The day started off with high spirits and a motivational rally. Outstanding speakers touched on variations of the themes of peaceful coexistence, mutual support and civic regeneration. As the flatbed music truck made it's way to the head of the march, the OccupyOakland Party bus queued at the rear. Between the two estimated two thousand happy marchers awaited step off including a host of Bay area independent media buttressed by colleagues from as far away as OccupyLA. 
In addition to the marchers, media and medics, a tiny train of dollies carried precious computers, office furniture and supplies.

Within fifteen minutes, spotters began reporting Oakland police planned to separate the #OO Party bus from the marchers, thereby gaining clear access to the tail of the march. Others reported sightings of skirmish lines perpendicular to the march on side streets. Calls went out over the PA system from the music truck to "block up." This is a que to marchers that police have been spotted and for them to stick together to avoid being picked off.

Marchers were chased all through Laney College campus with several attempts by OPD to kettle the large crowd failing. However, eventually the inevitable stand off happened at a choke point well chosen by OPD. Smoke from aerosol canisters was sprayed into the crowd to disorient, flash bangs, lead tipped rubber bullets and possibly teargas were also used. The crowd was then rushed multiple times, more arrests were made before the bulk turned around to retreat. This all before 5:00 pm PST.

There was a second march planned and after an hour break to regroup. The OccupyOaklanders set out once again to try and reclaim a building. This march met with brutal force within ten minutes of setting out ending in a mass arrest across from the YMCA. Our twitpic feed has shots from the whole day and night. Remember this; you will see it over and over again.

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