Mayor Libby Schaff has ordered a ban on nighttime protests. She claims however that it is not a new “law”, but is in fact a different interpretation of an old law. Mayor Schaff told the East Bay Express “We are making better use of our existing policies to prevent vandalism and violence. Our intent is to ensure that freedom of expression is not compromised by illegal activity and that demonstrators, bystanders, and property are kept safe.”
The BlackOUT Collective has been marching in order to call attention to the value of women, and transgender lives. It is their sentiment that the media only cares about a woman’s body when it can be sexualized or used for profit or gain, not when it is used to accomplish something peaceful, or call attention to something important.
Saturday May 23rd hundreds met at Frank Ogwa Plaza. They marched a few blocks to the Oakland Police Headquarters. Police did not order anyone out of the street, the way they have done in previous marches, and allowed everyone to walk. Around 9 O’clock the gathering was declared unlawful, and the police gave the dispersal order. 50 or so people refused to budge, and sat in the street until they were arrested.
The police had the street kettled, and were dressed for a fight. Armed with night sticks, bean bag shotguns, and wearing armor, the 2 lines of police began walking forward 1 step at a time. Using loud speakers they demanded that protesters disperse or face arrest, by force if necessary, which could lead to bodily injury or harm.
People who were vocal were grabbed by the police, and this happened on 2 different occasions just a few feet from me. One man was snatched right in front of me, it appeared to be coordinated, and happened so fast that members of the crowd considered the fact that he might have been an informant. Minutes later a group of police snatched the Oakland Planning Commissioner. She dropped her candle, and was dragged to the ground.
The police line kept moving. They had effectively split the protest in half, and pushed them to the north, and south intersections. On the north side a line of police officers blocked the street, and observed the protesters, while on the south side of the street officers were busy writing tickets, and taking select people into custody. The police numbers were equal if not greater than the amount of people who had assembled in the streets of Oakland to defend freedom. After everything was said and done it is estimated that 47 people were cited, and 5 people were arrested.
If you ever doubt the power of your voice, take a look at what people who disagree with you, will do to silence you.