Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Oakland and the whole Occupy Movement

This past week has been absolutely fabulous for me. I have so much feeling going on about it and as usual so much to say.
Since it began back on September 17th on Wall Street, I have been watching with rapt attention to Occupy Wall Street. Even before then, I have been watching other movements loosely gathered together and thrown at us by the MSM (Main Stream Media) as the "Arab Spring." I have been fascinated by the emergence of people suddenly realizing that our very lives have become unsustainable due to a situation that has to be corrected. There isn't any letting the system fall down as if it will go away. That is silly thinking. We can and we will fix these issues. What I see that we cannot do is continue to ignore them or take anyone else's word as to what is causing them. I only took a couple of the following pics, there were many brave photographers taking most of these shots. I tried to stick to photos that were taken while I was watching the same scene and at the same time.
On Tuesday, my hubby and I headed down to the Occupy Oakland rally that took place the evening after the Occupy camp at Oscar Grant Plaza was raided in the early morning hours by Oakland Police officers.
 The meeting was being held at the library on 14th and Madison. We got off at the 12th street BART and walked to the meeting along with an SF Occupy protestor who was coming to Oakland from another rally. She told us that her daughter was in jail in San Jose from a raid co-ordinated at the same time and in the same manner as the Oakland raid had been. We heard similar stories out of Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Austin, Texas.

We got to the library as the meeting was starting and there were a few people milling around and it was very peaceful but it was tense. People began talking about what was happening during the Occupy and how they were upset that such a peaceful and rightful protest could be brutally usurped by people who were supposed to protect them. The woman with the cream scarf, tie dyed shirt and brown down jacket is homeless. She spoke telling us about the attitude and generosity of the occupiers. She talked about being fed, and that people listened to the things she had to tell them and treated her for the first time in a long time, like she mattered.
As she was speaking two news helicopters showed up and we began using the call and response system in order for as many listeners to be able to catch the messages. Next sirens were heard coming from all directions and the intersection above became a mass of officers in the streets on foot and half a dozen motorcycle units. They didn't stop where we were, they fanned out to strategically planned areas that they believed would protect the plaza from being retaken.

We found out later that there were over 500 officers brought in for this "riot" and that it cost the city a few million dollars. Sadly enough, at the time they were violating people's human rights to protest, the city council was voting to shut down 5 schools in the city for a 2 million dollar deficit.


After a show of force by the police we decided to march. Some wanted to take back the Plaza, but more of us wanted to take the protest to the streets to raise awareness and encourage others to join us.

Many military veterans that were with us, wanted to talk to the officers, explain to them that they didn't have to just follow mindless orders. Attacking protestors is wrong, it doesn't matter if you call them something else like criminals or rioters, it does not make it true. This movement is in 85 countries world wide.
As we continued to march, the police presence increased and there was a scuffle in the intersection between protesters that wanted to march by the jail, and police who had been told to stand in their way.

We made our way up and down blocks and came back to the plaza.
Do you notice who is ready for the tear gas? At this point, someone "in charge" got on a loudspeaker and told us that they were declaring us unlawful and they would begin using tear gas and arresting us in 5 minutes. They repeated some penal code that defined us as rioters. At first we sat down, but then we decided that we would march. There was no point making it violent, we were protesting, not rioting and we wanted our protest to be heard and seen. Why make it easy for these guys?
Five minutes later, the police shot tear gas into the oncoming back of the march all of whom had not heard the previous warnings yet.
This woman in the wheelchair was behind us about a block when they shot tear gas at her. Another person passed out and when others tried to help more canisters were shot in their direction. You can see them on the ground behind the two figures on the left side of the picture.
The people below, are carrying out Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran who was there with us, standing in front of the officers asking them to be peaceful and stop the violence against others.

Scott Olsen was taken to the Hospital in critical condition, with a skull fracture. He is currently in stable condition, but his attack has taken on a deeper symbolism to this movement. It has shown others everywhere, that America is not what she should be, and no where near what she can be yet.
This movement is not stopping. I am not stopping. I know, along with the millions of others in the streets being seen, and the millions who don't feel it is safe to join us yet, we are changing this world we live in.
It won't be easy, and it is going to take some time, but it won't be the same tomorrow as it was last week. The tide has turned and the tipping point is now. I hope we can all survive the ride.
 There will be much more to add to this conversation. And many more pictures, hopefully no more blood.







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