Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupy Oakland

The protest fell short of paralyzing the Northern California city that was catapulted to the forefront of national anti-Wall Street protests after a former Marine was badly wounded during a march and rally last week.

But as evening fell, an official said maritime operations at the Oakland port, which handles some $39 billion a year in imports and exports, had been "effectively shut down" by the thousands of marchers.


Windows were smashed at several Oakland banks and a Whole Foods market, with pictures of the damage posted on Twitter.

Acting Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said a group of 60 to 70 people he described as anarchists were responsible for the damage while the bulk of the protesters, a crowd he estimated at 4,500 people, had remained peaceful.


Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said more than 300 teachers stayed home, most of those having made formal requests the night before.


Oakland police Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said Tuesday the city would deal with the strike with its own officers, though he has said mutual was available if needed. San Mateo County officers were instructed to bring gas masks and riot gear.

"We're facilitating roughly 5,000 people moving freely around Oakland," said Jordan. "So it's possible some (other police) calls will not be handled immediately. In a perfect world we'd have 5,000 cops here too."

  San Jose Mercury News

Really? A perfect world would have one cop per civilian?

Meanwhile, at Whole Foods at 27th and Bay streets, a splinter group wearing all-black and face masks threw paint balls, left graffiti, tore up a fence and broke a window before the larger crowd turned on them and forced them to stop.

Hmmm. Didn’t require police with pepper spray and rubber bullets?

A crowd of more than 300 parents with babies, toddlers and children of all ages marched from the main branch of the Oakland Public Library to 13th and Broadway as part of a "Children's Brigade." Children led the march and chanted "Who are the 99? We are the 99!" while parents with wagons, strollers and infants in carriers marched behind them, toting snacks, crayons, chalk and bubbles.

Oh, Jesus. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when people dress up their kids with signs and take them to protests. It’s also kind of dangerous.

BTW, I saw a news video that said Scott Olsen, the Marine vet who was badly injured when police fired something at him, still cannot speak and communicates by writing short notes. And this comes from a message on reddit that says it came from an IVAW report:

As of last night, Scott's health is much improved, and doctors have upgraded his medical condition from critical to fair. Scott is surrounded by his family, is cognizant, and is breathing on his own without a respirator. He is still not able to speak based on the fact that the injury and swelling he's experiencing is located in the area of his brain that controls speech. But he is able to write notes to communicate and has started working with a speech therapist.

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