Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette: Report on the #FTP Demonstration

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Benjamin Phillips

Wednesday, JANUARY 4th, 2012 DAY 91

Report on FTP Demo

From a Comrade
Last Saturday’s FTP demo started off well enough, with lots of good energy at the rally. The few bubble-blowers that were there were tolerated. There were some people freestyling as others drummed on those outdoor bike lockers next to the BART exit. There were maybe 10 cops lined up against Walgreens — not a very impressive showing compared to the 250-300 of us gathered across the street. A cop walked towards us once to demurely stamp out the dying embers of a burning flag.

I really had no idea that OPD would be out in full force tonight. There were nearly as many of them as there were of us in front of the police station, I observed as we marched down Broadway. My stomached tightened in anxiety and my breath grew shallow, but still I yelled “Fuck the police” and “ACAB” in my thin, reedy voice.

The tires of a couple cruisers parked across the street from the police department were slashed as we turned onto 7th and Broadway a second time. A cop armed with what looked like riot gun started toward us, and some people on the sidewalk started running. Most of us kept on, and the cop retreated.

Our second trip into Old Oakland, we stopped at the intersection of 9th and Washington. At 8th and Washington a line of police formed, blocking us from 7th Street. There was a small fire between them and us. Some people sat down facing the cops. A proposal that we have a sit-in here was summarily dismissed. There aren’t enough of us, someone said. I looked around, and saw that there were only about half of us remaining. I touched my friend D’s arm. I was pretty scared at that point, but I didn’t want to leave.

Then, without warning, the police started running towards us. I don’t think I ran faster in my life. But still I wasn’t very fast, and I was worried about getting trampled. D was already yards ahead of me. I saw heard a couple of voices behind me say “That’s him! Get him!” and I saw some cops tackle someone to the ground out of the corner of my eye. Later I learned that 5 other people were arrested that night, in pretty much the same manner. I learned that people who couldn’t get away fast enough were beat and clubbed.

I met up with D on Broadway, where a group of about 60 of us walked slowly back to the Plaza debating whether or not to head back to where 20-30 people were kettled at 9th and Washington. An ambulance rushed down the street toward Washington, and some people started going in that direction, too, not about to abandon their friends to the mercy of OPD. D and I left when we heard that those in the kettle made it out safely after the long delayed dispersal order.

Vigil Raided After Permit Revoked (From OO Website) Jan 04, 2012 the Police did a raid of the Plaza; 60 cops came and removed the info table, and other vigil supplies and then proceeded to arrest 14 people, two of whom had been crossing the street in order to avoid police confrontation. The police brutality has reached an all-high for the movement. As an occupier put it: “Occupy Oakland has been the victim of almost daily raids by the police in the last two weeks. Dozens of us have been arrested and detained for days – only to have the flimsy charges eventually dropped. When raid after raid results in prolonged detentions and dropped charges – that’s not law enforcement, it’s police terrorizing nonviolent protesters.”

Arraignments at the downtown Oakland courthouse took place today and Jan 6th for occupiers arrested during the vigil as well as sweeps of the plaza dating back to the middle of December. Only a few occupiers remain in jail. Toby (arrested during the vigil raid) will be arraigned tomorrow. Jack (arrested during FTP march) will be arraigned tomorrow as well, at 2pm, probably in dept 112.

Occupy Patriarchy Event (excerpted from Oakland North)

On Sunday, Occupy Oakland’s feminist and queer bloc hosted an “Occupy Patriarchy” event that drew at least 200 people over the course of the day at the lot at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue.

Throughout the day, several canopies hosted a number of workshops covering such topics as conflict resolution, the politics of sexual and intimate violence, empowering women and ensuring political and social equality. Artists played guitar and spoke poetry on the open-mic stage. Many families brought their children, who kicked soccer balls around and played with a large parachute.

Having safe spaces for parents to bring children is also important to the Occupy protesters, said Tess Unger, one of four women who started the children’s village at the Oakland camp. The village was a place where parents could safely leave their children in order to participate in the general assemblies.

“We wanted families to feel like the movement was accessible to them,” she said, adding that the village was safe entry point for people who were new to the camp, particularly women.

But protesters like Unger are concerned that Occupy Oakland has not necessarily been a safe place for children. During the first police raid on the Occupy Oakland camp on October 25, police officers fired tear gas into the camp after giving the protesters dispersal orders. Although the tear gas was not used until after campers were warned to leave, and many had voluntarily departed, Unger said she is concerned that children still could have been present.
“I used to think the police would respect the safety of children,” said Unger. “I don’t think so anymore.”

Many people have been waiting for something like Occupy, an outpouring of voices demanding change, said many of the participants in Sunday’s event. But it has to include everyone, Cook said. “I want to see a revolution that happens that includes everyone and is safe for everybody,” she said.

Anti-capitalist organizing and community space The Holdout holds party for grand opening of bookstore
On January 7th, I went to the grand opening of the Holdout bookstore and cafe. I had heard about various Occupy-affiliated groups meeting there for the last few months, but last I heard there weren’t any walls. When I got to the space, it was clear that a lot of people had been hard at work on the space: not only were there walls, but bookshelves, tables and chairs too! All of the above were freshly painted (doors were kept open for ventilation) and a healthy crowd mingled, looked at books and read free zines. I played gin rummy with a deck that was short ten cards.

The Holdout is an event and organizing space in the East Bay. They plan to staff the space from 11-7 at least five days a week in the (very) near future, and are looking for volunteers to help keep it open on regular hours. Interested parties should email [email protected] or find Oakland Holdout and Holdout Books on Facebook.

Regular General Assembly Schedule
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 6pm in the amphitheater of Oscar Grant Plaza

The Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette (oscargrantplazagazette.com) aims to be a voice & record of the historic Occupy Oakland movement, part of a national & international movement of resistance. Please consider writing your thoughts, reflections, opinions, and what you’ve seen – you are part of this movement & we want to get your words out there! Send submissions to gazette[at]oscargrantplazagazette.com– we’ll strive to publish all materials received. We reserve the right to decline to run materials which would render us legally liable.