Friday, February 3, 2012
An Insignificant Handful of Oakland Demonstrators Escape Police Entrapment at HJ Kaiser Park, Oakland, CA, January 28, 2012
Of course some hundreds of them would eventually be kettled and arrested at the YMCA several blocks away later that night.
"Submit to your arrest!" "Submit!" "Submit now!"
Editorial comment: My title is meant to be ironic for those who might miss it.
There are erroneous reports that "only" a few hundred participated in the J28 actions in Oakland, which is simply not true. The numbers varied throughout the day and into the evening, from a few hundred at the City Hall where the march originated, to perhaps a thousand or so at The Battle of Oak Street which followed the attempt to occupy the Oakland Auditorium a couple of blocks away, to several thousand at the Henry J Kaiser Park where police made a failed attempt at a mass arrest.
The police had ordered dispersal from the park after closing all exits from the scene. Thousands of people were trapped unable to "disperse" if they wanted to. The police fired teargas into the crowd -- an angry but not violent crowd -- and began to tighten their cordon. Members of the crowd then tore down a chain link fence that separated the park from a vacant lot that had been "liberated" for use as a playground but which was then reclaimed and fenced off by the city for the higher use as a vacant lot. The crowd is seen in the video above breaking through the fence at Telegraph Avenue and continuing their march.
Part of the crowd was kettled by police in front of the YMCA between 23rd and 24th on Broadway, where about 100 escaped arrest through the building, thanks to the kindness of Y staff, and maybe another 50 were able to escape over fences. The rest -- about 400 -- were arrested.
All through the day, citizens of Oakland who were not part of the action were assisting the demonstrators -- residents near the Museum where The Battle of Oak Street took place were aiding people who were suffering the effects of tear gas and assisting the injured, people were cheering the marchers from their apartments as the marches passed by, drivers were honking their horns in support all along the routes. The very idea that OO has no support in Oakland is false on its face.
Below is another video of the police cordoning the crowd at the Henry J Kaiser Park and their escape, recorded from the window of an apartment across the street from the park.