[News] Police Fire Tear Gas, Flash Grenades as Protesters Try to Retake Occupy Oakland

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Oct 26 12:52:15 EDT 2011

Police Fire Tear Gas, Flash Grenades as 
Protesters Try to Retake Occupy Oakland After Predawn Raid

Oakland police repeatedly fired tear gas and 
flash grenades Tuesday night as protesters 
attempted to retake the Occupy Oakland encampment 
outside City Hall­only 12 hours after police tore 
apart the camp and arrested more than 90 people 
in a pre-dawn raid. Observers said that at times 
the downtown resembled a war zone last night. 
Some protesters are being held on $10,000 bail. 
We speak to Rachel Jackson of the Oscar Grant 
Committee Against Police Brutality and State 
Repression about how the police are handling 
Occupy Oakland. We also are joined by John 
Avalos, San Francisco city supervisor and a 
candidate for mayor of San Francisco. On Tuesday, 
Avalos introduced a resolution supporting the 
right of the Occupy San Francisco protest to 
continue its peaceful assembly in public spaces. [includes rush transcript]


Jackson, organizer with the Oscar Grant Committee 
Against Police Brutality and State Repression. 
She has been a regular supporter of Occupy Oakland.
Avalos, San Francisco city supervisor and a 
candidate for mayor of San Francisco

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we reported in headlines, 
Oakland police repeatedly fired tear gas and 
flash grenades Tuesday night as protesters 
attempted to retake the Occupy Oakland encampment 
outside City Hall. Observers said that at times 
downtown resembled a war zone. The protest began 
12 hours after police raided the Occupy Oakland 
encampment and arrested nearly a hundred 
protesters. The detained protesters are being held on $10,000 bail.

Here are some of the voices from last night’s demonstration.

PROTESTERS: Whose streets? Our streets! Whose 
streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!


PROTESTER 2: These people have tear-gassed us 
multiple times for peacefully sitting and protesting.

PROTESTERS: The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!

PROTESTER 3: It was just­it was so unjust, like 
nobody was really doing anything that would justify tear gas.

PROTESTERS: Bakersfield, California! Occupy! Berkeley, California! Occupy!

OMAR: I’m Omar. I was born and raised in Oakland. 
And basically, we’re sick of corporate greed. 
That’s all it is. Sickness of corporate greed.

PROTESTER 4: Everybody knows it’s not fair for 
two percent to own 50 percent of the wealth in 
this world. No matter what business school you 
went to, if you didn’t learn that, you failed kindergarten.

PROTESTER 5: People are fed up, on all 
different­on multiple levels, right? Like, 
through public education, all the resources that 
are being cut, the fees that are going up. I 
think the whole­the economy. And just there’s a 
lot of things that are culminating right now, so 
this is just an extension of all that, and that’s where I’m coming from.

PROTESTER 6: People had a meeting over in front 
of the library at 4:00, and we decided that we 
wanted to come and take this park back. It’s 
public land. We are the public of California. 
They’re here to protect and serve us. And right 
now they’re not doing too good of a job.

PROTESTER 7: But we know we are here for a cause. 
And that cause, it has to be achieved. There’s no 
way we’re going to go back. No way. Nobody’s 
going to push us back. No way. The more you try 
to put us back, the more we’ll come in large numbers.

AMY GOODMAN: Thanks to KPFA’s John Hamilton for 
some of those voices in Oakland last night, where 
police repeatedly fired tear gas and flash 
grenades at protesters upset that police had 
cleared the Occupy encampment in front of City 
Hall Monday morning. Earlier in the day, Interim 
Police Chief Howard Jordan defended the use of force to break up the camp.

to move was based on public health and safety, 
due to defecation, fire hazards, sexual assault 
incidents, violent behavior, and the denial of access of medical aid.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now in Berkeley 
at the University of California, Berkeley’s TV 
studios by Rachel Jackson. She is with the Oscar 
Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and 
State Repression. She’s been helping to organize Occupy Oakland.

We’re also joined by John Avalos. He is the San 
Francisco city supervisor and candidate for mayor 
of San Francisco. On Tuesday, John Avalos 
introduced a resolution supporting the right of 
Occupy San Francisco protest to continue its 
peaceful assembly on Market Street and other 
public spaces, like Justin Herman Plaza.

Rachel Jackson, John Avalos, welcome to Democracy 
Now! Rachel, let’s start with you. What happened 
over these last 24 hours? And also, your group is 
called the Oscar Grant Committee Against Police 
Brutality and State Repression. They’ve also 
named the plaza outside City Hall the Oscar Grant Plaza. Explain why.

RACHEL JACKSON: Yes, Amy. First of all, I just 
want to clarify really quickly that I’m not one 
of the organizers but have been a supporter and a 
participant and was one of many of the people who 
were doing­were signed on to do emergency 
response when the eviction time came. The 
significance of calling the square Oscar Grant 
Plaza has­it’s sort of­it’s twofold. One is in 
memory of Oscar Grant and all of the young men 
who were attacked by BART police, and Oscar had 
been murdered by the BART police in 2009. But also, really­

AMY GOODMAN: This was the famous image that was 
caught on videotape. Explain to our listeners and 
viewers around the country and around the world.

RACHEL JACKSON: Sure. So, basically, a group of 
young people, and young men, were traveling home 
from just being out partying in San Francisco on 
New Year’s Eve of 2009, and they headed home, in 
fact, because­they headed home from San Francisco 
to the East Bay in part because they were afraid 
that things were going to get too rowdy in the 
city. And because people were concerned about 
drunk driving and so on, the young people took 
BART. And sadly, it was a fateful decision, 
because in trying to do the right thing, what 
ended up happening is, is that they were 
basically racially profiled, attacked by police 
officers, and Oscar Grant was shot in the back at 
almost point-blank range while he was subdued on 
his stomach with his hands behind his back.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, your committee was formed.

RACHEL JACKSON: And yes, it was one of many 
things. And for a lot of us here, I mean, part of 
what has been so significant is­you know, about 
this past two weeks, is that it’s sort of a­it’s 
a confluence or sort of a perfect storm of people 
coming together and timing. And really, the 
naming is part of also like a celebration of 
Oscar Grant and the fact that we have actually 
been able to hold 14th and Broadway, and really, 
after­you know, for three years of being run out 
of the plaza, being subjected to martial law 
during Operation Verdict in Oakland, when 
Mehserle­the Mehserle verdict came in, and then 
Operation Sentencing in November, when Mehserle was sentenced.

AMY GOODMAN: The officer.

RACHEL JACKSON: There have been these huge 
mobilizations, unprecedented 
mobilizations­military, mutual aid mobilizations, 
with law enforcement from all over the state and 
Homeland Security, and the list goes on. And, you 
know, we’ve continued to assert our right to be 
at 14th and Broadway and be in the plaza, and, 
you know, we have fought for that space as part 
of Oakland’s development politically and its maturation politically.

And last night, when­really, like 12 hours ago, 
when­for one of the few times in, I’m sure, many 
people’s lives, when people chanted, "Whose 
streets? Our streets!" and "When Oakland is under 
attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!" 
that that was real, and that­you know, the 
night­24 hours ago, that started with the 5:00 
a.m. pre-dawn vicious raid by the police on the 
campers at Occupy Oakland, what started with the 
protesters being chased and on the defensive and 
scattered, in 12 hours, by 5:00 or 6:00 in the 
evening, when people learned of the early morning 
raid, by 5:00 or 6:00 yesterday evening, the 
tables had completely turned, and the initiative 
was with the people of the Bay Area and the 
people of Oakland. And really the police, despite 
having been­having had their huge arsenal of 
weapons and so on, they ended up on the 
defensive. And really, really, the marches and 
activities that went on yesterday, they were not 
over until we said that they were over, until the 
people decided it was time to go home.

And in the next period, we want to be clear, and 
clear to Mayor Quan and anybody else who’s 
involved in the decision-making process, we want 
the camp back. We want the camp back. We want 
everyone’s stuff back. We want charges dropped 
against protesters and an end to martial law in Oakland.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Rachel Jackson, can you say a 
little bit about why did the police decide to 
strike yesterday in the morning at 5:00 a.m.? What prompted that?

RACHEL JACKSON: Well, it’s an interesting 
question around who makes these decisions. In 
some ways, there’s clearly­there are clearly 
tensions here in Oakland between the Police 
Department and law enforcement, on the one hand, 
and the Jean Quan, the mayor’s office, on the 
other, with Chief Batts stepping down just days 
ago or a week ago, and in part because he felt 
like he didn’t have the tools, frankly, of 
repression and racial profiling that he wanted, 
such as youth curfews, gang injunctions and 
anti-loitering laws. On the one hand, we had a 
disgruntled chief who stepped down, who felt like 
he didn’t have enough of an arsenal here and felt 
that the mayor wasn’t giving him what he needed, 
on the other hand, and then, you know, on the 
other hand, we have the mayor, who basically was 
missing in action. And so, you know, there’s 
these power plays, these power dynamics, that are going on.

AMY GOODMAN: The police chief referred to­the 
police chief referred to some kind of sexual assault?

RACHEL JACKSON: That was­that was basically like 
the WMDs of our struggle here, has been­has been 
rats­rats, sexual assault and drug use. And 
that’s why I say that it’s interesting to think 
about the decision-making process, because while 
clearly there are individuals who are making 
certain decisions, it’s­we have to look at, and 
be suspicious of, the fact that many of the camps 
all got attacked at the same time and really largely for the same reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: John Avalos, you’re a San Francisco 
city supervisor. You’re trying to guarantee that 
Occupy San Francisco doesn’t meet the same fate. Explain what you’re doing.

JOHN AVALOS: Well, yesterday I introduced a 
resolution, co-sponsored by three other 
supervisors, to call on the mayor and the Police 
Department to cooperate and collaborate with the 
Occupy movement and Occupy SF movement. And in my 
mind, the occupation, in and of itself, is the 
right to assembly and free speech, so you can’t­I 
would say our constitutional rights would trump 
any law we have here at the local level. And what 
the Occupy movement is about is certainly 
something greater than the need to contain public space, and I support it.

The resolution calls for the departments­the 
Police Department, the Department of Public 
Health and the Rec and Park Department­the main 
departments that are in confluence with the 
Occupy movement protesters, to work 
collaboratively on sharing space and providing 
resources that could benefit the movement staying 
in its current space or find another space where they can occupy.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about what­why people are 
occupying, John Avalos, and what the issues you 
feel must be protected, and this whole issue of 
"We are the 99 percent," which has become the 
mantra, and what you feel needs to be done to protect them.

JOHN AVALOS: Well, sure, thank you. I actually 
represent a part of San Francisco that has a high 
rate of foreclosure, the 94112 zip code and as 
well as Bayview-Hunters Point and Visitacion 
Valley. And my part of San Francisco has a really 
high level of foreclosure. A lot of households 
are working-class, middle-class households that 
were­a lot of them were taken by the subprime 
loan-lending crisis. And they’re now losing their 
wealth, which is in their homes. A lot of them 
are dealing with high unemployment. We have the 
highest unemployment rate in San Francisco. It’s 
about 9.7 percent in San Francisco, but much 
higher in our communities. In communities of 
color, African-American community and Latino 
community, it’s much higher. A lot of people are 
disaffected. We have a lot of­we have high 
homelessness of families. Often homelessness gets 
targeted as single adults in San Francisco, but 
we have families that are on our waiting list for 
homeless services, for housing, for emergency 
housing. That’s a crisis that’s rising. And so, 
we have a lot of people who are very frustrated 
with the conditions that they are living in. We 
are living in conditions that have not received 
the bailout, the respite from the federal 
government that we had expected would come with 
the bailout of the banks in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: John Avalos, this issue of the banks 
and foreclosures, the San Francisco’s Board of 
Supervisors has weighed such a move, including 
supporting not only the Occupy San Francisco 
encampment, but urging adoption of policies that 
would prompt big banks into modifying mortgages. 
How can the Board of Supervisors do this?

JOHN AVALOS: Well, currently, I’ve called for a 
study on creation of our own municipal bank here 
in San Francisco. And we have­our budget is $6.8 
billion. And every year we actually, totally 
beyond our budget, with the school district and 
city college district, we have a $12 billion 
budget that goes through financial institutions 
in the Bay Area and around the country. And if we 
had a way to leverage our pocketbook to get the 
banks to be more accountable to supporting small 
businesses or to help households to avoid 
defaults through loan modifications or to 
underwrite­to write down the mortgages to the 
current property value of households that are 
underwater, we could pump more money into the 
local economy, we can create more jobs. That’s 
the idea behind it. So we’re looking at, you 
know, long term, the creation of a municipal 
bank, but in the short term, can we­do we have 
any leverage points on the local and banking 
institutions, either through divestment of our 
dollars into other institutions, community 
financial ­ what are they called? ­ community 
development financial institutions or credit 
unions that will help us more readily here at the local level?

AMY GOODMAN: John Avalos, I want to thank you for 
being with us, San Francisco city supervisor­

JOHN AVALOS: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: ­and Rachel Jackson, with the Oscar 
Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and 
State Repression. Of course, we will continue to 
follow what’s happening at Occupy Oakland and 
Occupy San Francisco, at Occupy Chicago, Occupy 
New York. And we’ll talk about what’s happening 
all over the country, as we continue to follow 
what the issues are that are being raised and how 
the state is dealing with those issues.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War 
and Peace Report. When we come back, Glenn 
Greenwald has written a new book. It’s called 
With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is 
Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Stay with us.

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