Hundreds of protesters were arrested in Oakland this weekend following activists’ unsuccessful afternoon effort to occupy a former convention center. Over a thousand protesters decided to head back to their former encampment outside City Hall, which is when police confronted the marchers and began arresting them en masse.
Those arrested included six journalists: Mother Jones’s Gavin Aronsen, independent journalist Susie Cagle, Kristen Hanes of KGO Radio, Vivian Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle, John C. Osborn of the East Bay Express, and Yael Chanoff of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Hanes had credentials, though from San Francisco police, not OPD, and Ho did have OPD credentials.
Aronsen describes his arrest:
As I waited in line to be processed and transported to jail, Ho approached me with an officer who had released her from custody. The two explained to my arresting officer that I was with the media. “Oh, he’s with the media?” the officer replied, although I had already repeatedly told him as much and my credentials had been plainly visible all night. He appeared ready to release me, until a nearby officer piped in, without explanation: “He’s getting arrested.”
This still lifted from @OakFoSho’s livestream offers some insight into how Oakland was placed under police lockdown.
Occupiers told harrowing tales of police firing tear gas, bean bags, and flash bang grenades at them during the protest. Some protesters built makeshift shields from scrap metal in order to protect themselves from the same projectiles that gravely injured veteran Scott Olsen during this fall’s protests.
A young man named Kevin told me about an aggressive interaction he had with an officer, who he describes as “bloodthirsty.” According to Kevin, a “really big” officer (helmet number 881) started screaming at him, yelling, “Come on! Come over here! Come get some!”
In response to the police aggression and mass arrests, Occupiers in cities across the country participated in solidarity marches Sunday evening in New York, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles.
I attended the solidarity march at Washington Square Park where around 200 protesters gathered to express support for the West Coast Occupy. There was definitely a lot of energy buzzing in the crowd and several participants remarked that it felt like the “old days” of Zuccotti. Much of that energy manifested in anger and discontent with the police. (Photo by Allison Kilkenny)