Police Fire Tear Gas at Occupy Oakland; Public Responds
It’s been exactly 40 days since 1,500 protestors took to the streets near the New York Stock Exchange to make a statement about corporate greed and the disparity between bank bailouts and the mortgage crisis. In that time, Occupy Wall Street activists have branched out in cities across the country, making it clear that the 99% will not be silenced.
In some cases, that’s not going to keep police forces from trying.
The situation exploded in Oakland, California on Tuesday, October 25th when police used tear gas to break up a group of hundreds of demonstrators headed to City Hall. According to ABC News, some reports state that the police also fired bean bags and flash-bangs. More than 100 people were arrested and several protesters were injured, suffering from broken hands and head injuries. Most notably, Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was hit in the head by a projectile fired by Oakland Police and was taken to Highland Hospital in critical condition due to a two-inch skull fracture.
Since Tuesday’s incident, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s Facebook page has become a venue for frustrated Occupy Oakland supporters to unleash their anger at Quan and the Oakland Police Department. Quan’s Facebook page no longer allows outside wall posts, but users are still able to comment on an item she posted Tuesday in defense of her decisions. In the post Quan states that “many Oaklanders support the goals of the national Occupy Wall Street movement” and that “over the last week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the City could maintain safe or sanitary conditions or control the ongoing vandalism.”
“The City welcomes all Oaklanders to continue to use [Frank Ogawa Plaza] during daylight hours for peaceful protest,” Quan concludes.
Quan’s post has sparked nearly 12,000 comments in response. They’re nearly all negative and the number is still increasing as of Thursday morning. Many are calling for Quan’s resignation.
“Occupy Wall Street tents are a form of free speech that you should be championing,” said Facebook user Julian Sharp. “Please STOP authorizing police violence against peaceful demonstrators.”
Tuesday’s police attack was a catalyst for solidarity for Occupy Oakland and the collective Occupy Wall Street movement.
On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters marched in New York City to show support for Oakland’s protesters.
“This march is happening because the riot police attacked people in Oakland,” an unnamed woman told the New York Times. “It’s something that could have happened to all of us.”
Through Twitter, on Wednesday Occupy Oakland (@OccupyOakland) urged protesters to return to their encampment outside City Hall “for round three. And four. And five. And six. We will not be moved.”
Video of Tuesday's Occupy Oakland protest: