Eyewitness Oakland

Glenn Beck and the FOX News Orchestra:

Violence came in waves. Many demonstrators peace-saluted police and called through bullhorns: “This is a peaceful protest! This is a civilian movement!” But from the moment I arrived in Oakland at 10:15 p.m., I saw a visible minority spoiling for conflict. Tinder had built across the night at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway, a mixture of expectation and adrenaline. Protesters had balked at what they saw as disproportionate policing: They’d been teargassed once already. But how to respond was a matter of intense debate in the crowd of about 1,000.

People shouted each other down while police—as many as 100, in full riot gear, from several different counties—bristled in their formation behind a single metal barricade; news and police helicopters provided the soundtrack. Xavier Manalo, a 25-year-old tennis instructor holding the forward-most protest banner, admitted there were “rogue elements” in the group but insisted the “pressure of the peaceful will be the deterrent” to the violence.

Manalo was wrong. I saw groups of protestors arguing, not only with the police—who were the constant subject of heckling and catcalls—but with each other. There were calls to retaliate by throwing things like eggs back over the barricade, just as a big group of around 40 people started to chant, “Don’t Throw Shit! Don’t Throw Shit!”

Time passed and restlessness set in. Another fight broke out in front of me.

“You don’t need to be splitting this fucking movement!” one man yelled at a guy holding a bullhorn who had been trying to reassure police of the group’s peaceful motives. He was angry that the man with the megaphone had characterized a group of demonstrators as violent. “You don’t have to be doing their fucking work for them!” he yelled.

No one appeared in control and the group was divided into two groups: the largely peaceful, and a small, visible, determined group of agitators.

At the height of this melee, I saw two men throw bottles at the police. People screamed and scrambled for air ahead of the inevitable: a half-dozen canisters of tear gas—some crackling and echoing off the Rite Aid building. Caught up in taking pictures, I breathed and choked. It felt like I had swallowed chilies and then rubbed the chilies into my eyes for good measure. I heard reports of rubber bullets and saw demonstrators tending to the distressed. My Twitter feed told me of at least one bloody injury—a man hit in the head with a canister—but the gas made the intersection impossible to rejoin for 10 minutes to confirm injuries.

A brief lull, then this scene repeated. The group came back together—around 800—with protesters calling to those who were still cowering behind bus shelters or cleaning their eyes to “not be afraid,” to “not run away.” And so it began again: talks, disagreements about engagement, improvised debates about the meaning of nonviolence, and a swirling sense of anticipation.

The breaker: Another bottle was hurled from the crowd and tear gas canisters were lobbed back. Accord between the protestors had not been reached.


As the protesters filtered away, I spoke with a group of tired cops covered in blue and orange paint—and that wasn’t all, said one sergeant who wouldn’t give his name. He said they’d also been pelted with glass and vinegar, and one officer claimed to have tasted urine in the mix. So how did tonight compare with others he’s seen? He laughed and said, “Well, it’s not quite a homicide.”

Oh, wait! My bad, that was Mother Jones.

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61 Responses to Eyewitness Oakland

  1. crawdad says:

    When did MoJo go over to the dark side?

  2. myiq2xu says:

    I’m having a really bad day. My practically new fridge/freezer stopped working and the repairman says I need a new one.

    According to Sears my extended warranty ran out in 1998 and my beer is getting warm. That is totally unfair.

    I’m going down to Zuccotti Park and pout until someone buys me a new Kenmore Pro 29.5 cu. ft. Side-By-Side Built-In Refrigerator with the optional beer tap.

  3. votermom says:

    Photo evidence if you scroll down that myiq was at Occupy SF freaking out the occupods.

  4. 1539days says:

    I alluded to this many days ago, but have you ever seen a “protest” where people don’t rally for a day or sit in for a week or so, but just sit with no demands and no plan? This is cult behavior. Keeping people away from home and other normals makes them think this weird ritual is somehow noble.

    Now we have protesters who were kicked out demanding to return. This is not fighting for a cause. This is just fighting.

  5. yttik says:

    How come the cops are not being viewed as part of the 99%? I know, that’s a rhetorical question, but even in Seattle this doesn’t seem to be a protest against wall street or even politicians, so much as it is a protest against the police.

    • Karma says:

      Yup. What happened to the flower in the rifle as a protest response? Wouldn’t that show genuine concern for their brothers in the 99%?

      Though those homeless NYC jerks should get eat at the shelter where they belong./s

  6. HELENK says:

    I saw this article and thought it would help a lot of us get through the ows and backtrack idiocy


  7. HELENK says:

    they are going to use this Iraqi vet to justify the violence.
    That is not fair to HIM.
    From what I understand he was an anti-war protester, and after doing two tours he sure as hell had the right to do so.
    Because some instigators wanted violence and they got it, this guy got hurt and will now be used. That SUCKS


  8. HELENK says:

    this story impressed me
    American POW in Korea stayed behind for three years, lived in China. Came home with the belief that even if it is not perfect , the American form of government is the best.
    lesson learned


  9. timothy2010 says:

    I rented Zookeeper(painfully awful) this evening from red box. Checked my email and there was a message from red box which stated that the cost of using their kiosks was going from 1 to 1.20 because of new increases in debit card fees.
    Don’t care about 20 cents but it pisses me off to be lied to so I contacted red box via live chat. poor girl I was very polite but all she had to offer was a reread of the email.
    Charging 2 per movie is still a great bargain but again I hate to be lied to.
    How I see it is this company is opportunistic and will blame the bad banks to get more.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I pay women to lie to me.

    • votermom says:

      Do they charge more even if you use a credit card?
      boo hiss

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      This is not making any sense. So they shifted the burden of debit card transaction to the cardholder by making them pay a $5 a month bank fee. Formerly, the businesses paid fees, which they could not pass on to customers. Now they they don’t have to pay the fees, and they’re going to pass on fees they aren’t paying to the customer, who just got a new bank fee? WTF?

      • yttik says:

        It doesn’t make sense, but here’s an article that helps explain it:


        • votermom says:

          credit-card companies plan to increase the fees—which ultimately are paid to banks, not MasterCard or Visa—to 23 cents per transaction.


          That is officially in usury territory. Bring on sharia!

        • timothy2010 says:

          Some restauranteurs love a gas crisis especially in New York. A case of wine goes up 2 bucks and it is passed on to the consumer. Cost goes down price stays the same. I get it. But don’t increase and blame the big bad banks and go so far as to contact me via email with your rationalization.
          I never would have paid a bit of a attention if they said our costs have gone up we are now charging more but blaming the banks for a huge increase is crazy

        • votermom says:

          It sounds like in this case they are telling the truth. The WSJ article explains how Visa and Mastercard are raising the per transaction fee for small trasactions.
          Check out this article (scroll down to the graphic)


          This is just another example, imo, of congress passing a law supposed to protect us the consumer but actually benefitting the banks.

      • timothy2010 says:

        My point is that this company is taking advantage of the anti-bank climate and lying. I take extreme umbrage when i am lied to. The movies used to cost 1 dollar. Crazy cheap. 2 dollars 3 dollars I’d still use em i rent an annoying kid movie on Thursdays we cook popcorn and build a fort out of the sofa cushions and end up falling asleep well past bed time every week.

        My point though is that a company is jacking up its prices and blaming the banks. It’s not that my movie went from 1 to 1.2 but what other companies are going to do the same thing?

        • yttik says:

          Retailers, like Redbox, are now forced to pay 23 cents on every transaction. If you’re renting a movie for a dollar or selling a cup of coffee, a business owner paying 23 cents per purchase is pretty hefty. Redbox has chosen to raise their prices to 1.20 to cover that new charge that is being levied against them by the government.

          The company really isn’t taking advantage of an anti-bank climate. Where I live the bakery and the ice cream parlor are simply refusing to take credit or debt anymore for any purchase under 20 bucks.

  10. timothy2010 says:

    One more thing before i stop boring ya’ll to tears. I got yet another message that so and so was following me on twitter. haven’t been on since #ocuppy thingy and I have never sent a single tweet– yet somehow I have thousands of followers and the only person i ever followed was during the Iranian uprising two years ago which i un-followed soon after. I love technology but I have serious reservations about the info these companies are collecting. In 2008 I got an email which had been sent to about thirty people about supporting boy wonder– it was sent to me and everyone in my address book from yahoo. Dealt with a stonewall at yahoo as every name in my address book was included but others were also there. through hissy fits that there was nothing in my sent box either that matched. Got no where.

  11. yttik says:

    I’ve watched dozens of videos now and I can’t figure out what hit that Iraqi war vet? If you look he’s down on the ground, but there’s no smoke, no tear gas anywhere in his area. He’s also not far from where the cops are. It’s quite possible he was hit by another protester’s projectile intended for the cops, rather than a canister of tear gas.

  12. Karma says:

    OccupyOakland gets creative with the barricades left by police to keep them from re-camping.


    • Karma says:

      H/T Gavin Arsonsen (Mother Jones) twitter page.


      Check out the tweets he has from speaking with SFPD. To put the first tweet in context. It appears OccupySF was all abuzz that they were going to be evicted again with SFPD at a staging area on Treasure Island….Aargh. But later it was revealed that SFPD was on stand-by if the protesters removed from OccupyOakland decided to go to SF. Anyway, once again it is the camping that is at issue with police.

      The officer says he supports #OccupySF demonstrators’ 1st Amendment rights, but a semi-permanent campsite is a different thing.
      14 hours ago

      “If people could find a way to turn life into a 365-day-a-year festival, then by all means fill me in,” the officer says.#OccupySF
      14 hours ago

      Officer tells a man that “I think our demands are pretty rational and easy to understand. Just take the tents down.” #OccupySF
      14 hours ago

      “I don’t know what’s going on here. Even if I did I probably wouldn’t be authorized to say anything,” one officer says. #OccupySF
      14 hours ago

      • yttik says:

        Jean Quan is getting a bum rap. She’s an Occupy supporter, she’s visited the Occupy site, and she’s already visited that injured Iraqi vet.

        We have the same situation in Seattle, public officials bending over backwards to support people’s right to protest who are being treated like the enemy. It’s just flat out stupid.

        • Karma says:

          I think she is getting a bum rap too. We know people that live in the area. They talk about how she has paid her dues in Oakland and was never a do-nothing type of politician.

        • Karma says:


          An article from Oct 2010.

          Jean Quan is the Hillary Clinton of Oakland politics. She’s not a particularly inspiring speaker. She’s a wonk’s wonk. Indeed, no one may know more about the intricacies of city government than her. And she’s not shy about telling people about her accomplishments or sharing what she knows.

          Politically, Quan is cut from the traditional Clinton-Democratic mold. She’s pro-worker and a fighter for social justice. And she’s been endorsed by numerous labor unions and nonprofits in the city. You could say she’s the anti-Ron Dellums. She’s not going to deliver a fiery — or flowery — speech. But she has been the hardest-working candidate in the mayor’s race, holding more than 160 house parties and block parties, most of which have attracted dozens of voters. And she’s walked precinct after precinct throughout the city, chatting up residents.

          The councilwoman also has enlisted some of the most ardent supporters in the campaign, and her impressive array of volunteers has been knocking on doors and talking to voters in all parts of Oakland. In short, Jean Quan is no reluctant candidate. Unlike Dellums, she didn’t have to be cajoled into running. She really wants to be mayor, and she’s in the race with her eyes wide open. No one may know of the depth of Oakland’s problems better than her.

          There’s every reason to believe that Quan will put in just as many hours in the mayor’s office as she has on the campaign trail. It’s what draws so many people to her. “I’m really impressed with her work ethic and her commitment to the city,” explained state Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, who is also the co-chair of Quan’s mayoral campaign. “She pays attention to detail, and she’ll be a hands-on mayor who will find solutions for the city.”

  13. r u reddy says:

    Here’s a comment cutpasted from a very recent Naked Capitalism thread which discusses military and veteran displeasure over the shooting-in-the-head of a US Marine veteran with a police tear-gas projectile.
    from correspondence from a WA vet:

    http://occupyolympia.org/occupy-news/nationwide/ If you scroll down, you will see the Marine, Coast Guard, and Police Occupy sites. The military people are very angry. Many actually believe that they are supposed to uphold the Constitution and protect American citizens. Some of the Marines are vowing to be a line between the people and the police and protect the people. Did you see the video of that huge black Marine Sergeant chewing out the NYPD guys. I watched the faces of some of those officers and they did not seem like they wanted to be there. I mean, they are going to have a big choice to make soon. They have families to support, but I’m sure many do NOT want to be doing this. Many are probably ex-military and they will listen to a “Sarg.”

    Maybe all of us will have a hard choice to make one of these days.

    Let me tell you, the military people are ready to go on this. The police took down one of their own. The kid has swelling on the brain and that usually requires some kind of surgery. I noticed that although a lot of the military are not real supportive of the Veterans for Peace group, that division seems to have vanished because of this.

    Did you see the video where the cops stood by after this guy was injured? They were behind the barricades and then when about twenty people gathered around him, trying to help, one of them fired some kind of canister point blank at the group. My husband says that was not proper use of deadly force, since those things are very dangerous that close. He was only about ten or twelve feet away. And why weren’t the police calling in medical help for him? They are supposed to do that. This is crazy.”

    • myiq2xu says:

      I’m a veteran too.

    • soupcity says:

      Exactly what “big choice” will they have to make soon? Ignore the rule of law that they are supposed to uphold? Is that it? Are they supposed to lay down their arms and join the “cause”? Do you actually believe that the military are going to stage a coup against police officers? Or is it that the police will just stop obeying orders because they secretly would rather be brothers-in-arms to a bunch of people who have made their job 10 times as hard in the past few weeks? I have every sympathy in the world for this Marine and his injuries and condition (which, by the way, thank the gods, has significantly improved) but I am having a really hard time understanding what you are saying here.

      Do you really believe anyone wanted this to happen? The longer this goes on in the aimless (horizontal) way it is, the potential for intentional violence grows exponentially.

      Sorry for the rant.

      • Mary says:

        Don’t be sorry. It’s a good rant.

        The OWSers who intended violence and rioting before it even began are the ones at fault.

        You go to a “peaceful” demonstration with rocks , paint, and bottles suggests that the violence is what you went for. It’s INTENT. (Think Ayers in 1968)

        There were many OWSers who went without such things–and who tried to keep it peaceful—but the ones who came prepared for same didn’t pay any attention to them.

        We’re all sorry for the vet who was injured and hope he gets well, but I think you’re wrong about “all the vets” getting pissed at the cops, r u reddy.

        Those fellow vets will be more angry at the fellow OWSers who instigated the violence by bringing and throwing rocks, bottles, and paint at the cops.

        I know a lot of vets. I know a lot of cops. They don’t LIKE OWSers who willfully stoke the violence and damage the cause of “Veterans for Peace.”

  14. Karma says:

    Yemeni women are asking for tribal and international help.

    Burning the veil.


  15. Karma says:

    OccupySF tries to enlist their homeless to the Occupy cause instead of “snitching” them out to OWS-security. The rulz for “snitching” are very complex after all it’s probably best to let OWS-security decide/search tents/deny food/give directions to the shelter/be huge f*cking hypocrites about economic justice.


    Working on homeless

    On Thursday, they redoubled outreach to homeless people and others sleeping out in the plaza to enlist them in the cause – a politically sensitive way of trying to make Occupy SF more of a movement than a homeless camp. The idea is to be inclusive but goal-oriented, said several activists who didn’t want to be named for fear of being perceived as unwelcoming.

    “They want you to help out, but I’m really not into all that political stuff,” said Johnnie Buck, 50, who has been homeless for years in the area. “So I’m sleeping across the street. I like their message and some of the other guys are cool with helping. I’m more into my own thing.”

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