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“Oakland reacts to grand jury decision in Ferguson shooting with protests, freeway shutdown” (via Ruthie Sakheim)

A crowd gathers in downtown Oakland to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.

Police officers lined up in downtown Oakland observing the protest. Photo by Deana Mitchell.
Patrons at Oasis Lounge on Grand Avenue watching protesters march by. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Protesters in face masks and Occupy garb. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Protesters meet a line of police officers at Grand and MacArthur. Photo by Alex Kekauohoa.
Officers lined up near the Grand off-ramp of the 580 freeway. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Traffic grinds to a halt on the 580 freeway as protesters walk on the roadway. Photos by Alex Kekauoha.
Protesters move among the squad cars on the 580 freeway. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Protesters' posters compare Mike Brown with Oakland native Alex Nieto. Photo by Bonnie Chan.
By 9:30 pm, much of the crowd had dispersed, but some protesters headed back towards the freeway. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Drummers headed to support the protest. Photos by Alex Kekauoha.
Protesters on the freeway chanting
Protesters set garbage on fire. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
Cadine Williams leads a crowd of protesters at Broadway and 14th in downtown Oakland, shouting
Roxana Dhada, left, and Elliott Jones lie in the street in protest at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland early in the evening. Photo by Deana Mitchell.
Nova Tiller holds a sign during a protest in downtown Oakland early in the evening. Photo by Deana Mitchell.
Firefighters arrive to put out a small trash fire started by protesters. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.
A crowd gathers in downtown Oakland to protest the grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown. Photo by Alex Kekauoha.

A crowd of protesters filled downtown Oakland Monday night in reaction to the decision by a grand jury in St. Louis, Missouri, not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

By 5:50 pm, a crowd of several hundred had gathered in the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street in downtown Oakland. A group of people briefly tried to enter the 880 freeway at the Jackson Street entrance, but were turned away by police officers without incident.

The crowd then began marching east on Broadway chanting “No justice, no peace, fuck the police!” As the protest headed towards Lake Merritt, there were reports of scattered instances of vandalism. At the Chase bank at the corner of Webster Street and Thomas Berkeley Avenue, two masked men shattered the window glass and tagged the building, then knocked the camera from an Oakland North reporter’s hands, breaking the lens. Several other people set the contents of trash cans on fire, as well as pizza boxes.

By 7:45, the crowd had doubled to approximately 1,000 people, and began walking past the Children’s Fairyland end of Lake Merritt. The crowd, diverse in terms of both age and race, was led by people on bikes. Among the banners and signs being carried: “Fight back against state violence,” “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Several dozen protesters wore bandanas over their mouths.

At shortly after 8 pm, the crowd stopped at the corner of Grand Avenue and MacArthur, where the police assembled into a long line preventing them from crossing towards Lakeshore Avenue. The crowd pressed along MacArthur towards the freeway entrances to the 580, where police had assembled lines to block the entries to both the entrance and exit ramps.

But the crowd pressed forward, chanting “No justice, no peace,” and several hundred began to walk up the freeway offramp. Police lined up cars along the exit ramp and blew whistles at protesters to prevent them from entering the freeway, but a group of at least 100 people managed to make it onto the roadway. The drivers on 580 came to a halt as the protesters walked towards them, against traffic.

Protesters chanted as they walked along the streets and the highway, shouting slogans like “Indict, convict, send these killer cops to jail!” and “Ferguson, we got your back!” At one point, women who identified themselves as leaders from a Unitarian church walked among the crowd holding banners, sometimes standing in between protesters and police officers, saying they were trying to de-escalate tension so that no one would get hurt.

At 9:15 pm, the City of Oakland issued a statement saying that so far one person had been arrested for vandalizing a police car with spray paint, and that there had been “numerous” arrests on the freeway, although a total was not available. The police began to issue orders to disperse around 8:30 pm, the statement said, and the department had called in a request for “mutual aid” from other cities’ police departments earlier in the evening.

The crowd stayed on the freeway until about 9:30 pm, causing a substantial traffic backup, before beginning to disperse. “CHP units stopped traffic on the freeway for the safety of the protesters,” wrote California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Hill at that time. “With the cooperation of the Oakland Police Department, we managed to clear the freeway and get traffic moving again. The protesters were mostly cooperative.”

But the crowd didn’t completely break up. Some protesters headed back towards downtown, but others reconvened at MacArthur and Grand. Some formed a drum circle, while others attempted to enter the freeway again, blocking the freeway exit ramp at Grand/Lakeshore Avenue and chanting “Shut it down for Michael Brown.” Nearby, someone set a mattress on fire, and someone else set fire to the contents of a trash bin, as a helicopter shone a bright light on the crowd from overhead.

Oakland resident Ilana Morris attended the protest wearing a flag draped like a cape, as well as one with hearts shot through with arrows, and a sign affixed to her back with the motto “Justice 4 Mike Brown.” “They [police] seem to think they’re here to keep the streets safe, when in fact they’re actually making them more dangerous,” she said.

As of 10:40 pm, some protesters remained on or near the freeway, and a fire crew had arrived to put out the trash fire.

By around 11 pm, the remaining protesters had returned to the downtown area, gathering around 8th and 9th Streets. Someone started a fire in the middle of Broadway between 8th and 7th Street, and people threw rocks into the windows of the Starbucks on Broadway and 8th street and tagged its windows.

At around 11:15, police officers began giving the remaining 500 to 700 protesters an order to disperse, telling them they would be arrested if they did not leave. After around 11:30, the officers formed what is called a “kettle,” closing in on the protesters on three sides, and forcing the protesters to move north down Broadway. At that point, some of the protesters began to leave, while others prepared to be arrested.

Michael Brown, a unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on August 9 by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. His death set off a series of protests in Ferguson and around the world.

A grand jury was convened to determine whether there was probable cause to believe that Wilson should be charged with a crime, and if so, which crime he should be charged with. Wilson would have been indicted if 9 of the 12 grand jurors agreed. Grand jurors reviewed witness statements, photographs, forensic evidence, and medical records. Wilson also gave testimony, which is rare in a grand jury hearing. The grand jury’s decision not to indict was announced by St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch at a press conference Monday evening.

At the White House, President Barack Obama addressed members of the press in a somber tone, flanked by the American flag. “First and foremost, we are a nation built on rule of law. We need to accept this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” he said. Anger is “an understandable reaction,” he continued, but  he urged anyone who protests to “do so peacefully.” He quoted Michael Brown’s father, saying, “hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.” The president also urged police officers to show “care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur.”

“This is not just an issue for Ferguson,” the president continued, “this is an issue for America. We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. To deny that progress is to deny America’s capacity for change.” It’s also true, Obama said, that there are still problems. “Communities of color aren’t making the problems up. There are issues in which the law too often feels it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion.”

“There is never an excuse for violence. On the other hand, those who are only interested in focusing on the violence and just want the problem to go away should recognize we have work to do here,” he continued.

When asked whether he would go to Ferguson, he said “[We’ll] see how things are going.”

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/11/24/oakland-prepares-for-michael-brown-grand-jury-announcement

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/25/oakland-ferguson-protests_n_6216880.html

Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked (from theonion.com)

FERGUSON, MO—Ahead of a grand jury’s decision over whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, police in the city of Ferguson have reportedly heavily increased their presence this week to ensure residents are adequately provoked. “We’ve deployed additional officers throughout Ferguson in order to make absolutely certain that residents feel sufficiently harassed and intimidated,” said St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar, assuring locals that officers in full riot gear will be on hand to inflame members of the community for as long as is necessary. “It’s absolutely essential that the people of Ferguson have full confidence that law enforcement is committed to antagonizing them every step of the way.” At press time, the Missouri National Guard was on standby with tanks and urban assault vehicles in case Ferguson residents required additional incitement.

Action Council Events — November 22 to December 8

Occupy SF

~ ACTION COUNCIL ~

Websites:

OccupySF Action Council: http://occupyactionsf.org

OccupySF: http://occupysf.org 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

NOTE:

OccupySF Action Council will not be meeting until Sunday, December 7th.

Next Codepink Vigil is on Wednesday, December 3rd

November 22 – November 26

N 22 Saturday – N 26 Wednesday, American Indian Movement International Conference “Climate Change Affects All My Relations”

San Francisco City College – Mission Campus
1125 Valencia St. & 22nd St (nr. 24th Street BART)
SF

AIM-WEST is host to the American Indian Movement (AIM) International Conference, celebrating its 42nd anniversary in San Francisco, November 22-26, 2010. Please check the website www.aimwest for additional locations and activities during the week…

The theme for this year’s annual gathering is “Climate Change Affects All My Relations!”. The conference will focus on Land, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for all Indigenous peoples

Information:  http://www.aimovement.org/moipr/AIMnovMtg.html

Contact: Antonio Gonzales 415-577-1492

The AIM conference is webcast daily on www.earthcycles.net

Monday, November 24

N 24, Monday, 9:30am, BAAQMD – People Needed at Stationary Source Committee Meeting

BAAQMD, 7th floor
939 Ellis Street
SF

URGENT! Turnout Needed @ BAAQMD on Monday

We’re hearing rumblings of heavy oil industry lobbying on refinery policy at the air district, potentially squashing anything good that comes to the Stationary Source Committee Monday.

They will also be giving a presentation on flaring in response to the many concerns voiced over Tesoro’s recent (and massive) flaring, not to mention the pulsing orange skies over the refinery that have been seriously freaking out refinery neighbors.  If you’re frustrated by BAAQMD’s slow and feeble response on this, please call for air district staff to leave the comfy confines of their office to meet with people in Martinez.

Most of all, we need to make sure the air district understands that we’re going to hold them to the refinery clean-up resolution they adopted, and that we expect atransparent process.  Right now, it seems there are oily fingerprints all over the hallways from frequent visits for closed door meetings.

Info: From Ruthie –Occupy EJ

N 24, Monday, 1:30pm  – CCSF-  SUPPORT THE PAEC! COME TO FIRST MEETING OF THE CBOC

33 Gough Street Auditorium
SF

SFCCD Citizens’ Prop 39 Bond Oversight Committee

The first meeting since 2013 of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) is this Monday!

Prop 39 was to fund the Performing Arts and Education Center (PAEC) that STWEP Agrella cancelled. Supporters of the Performing Arts and Education Center (PAEC) should come to this meeting.

Info: Save CCSF / afisher800@gmail.com

N 24, Monday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, OccupyForum Presents: Film- Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices

Global Exchange
2017 Mission St
SF

Walmart is the cheapest place in the USA to shop. In some areas, it is the only place to get some things. So, the temptation to shop there is very high.

In areas where Walmart opens, other businesses close down, and downtowns are replaced by big box strip malls. Workers are forced to work there. And the conditions are not good.

Half the Walmart employees are paid so poorly that they qualify for Welfare, food stamps and Medi-Cal. Walmart also receives tax breaks, so the taxpayers are subsidizing it twice. Some Walmarts have provided workforce housing — by letting the workers live in their cars in the parking lot. Walmart workers have to work on Thanksgiving, which has now become BlackFriday. They run holiday food drives, in which the slightly higher-paid workers are asked to contribute money so that lower-paid employees can have food, probably canned, on the one day they don’t have to work, Christmas. Even minimum wage is too high for some Walmarts, which have gotten in trouble for hiring undocumented workers at sub-minimum wages. Meanwhile, the Walton family, which owns the franchise, are billionaires, and are only getting richer.

The workers have been talking of striking for years. But Walmart has said that they will illegally fire all striking workers. Despite this, a strike is finally on. The demand is for a mere fifteen dollars per hour, which is becoming the standard minimum wage in many parts of the USA.

Continue reading

Occupy Forum presents . . . “Film: Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices” on Monday, November 24

Monday, November 24th

at Global Exchange from 6 – 9 pm

2017 Mission Street near 16th Street BART

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

OccupyForum Presents…

 Film: Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices

Walmart is the cheapest place in the USA to shop. In some areas, it is the only place to get some things. So, the temptation to shop there is very high.

But Walmart does not create a level playing field. In areas where Walmart opens, other businesses close down, and downtowns are replaced by big box strip malls. Workers are forced to work there. And the conditions are not good.

Half the Walmart employees are paid so poorly that they qualify for Welfare, food stamps and Medi-Cal. Walmart also receives tax breaks, so the taxpayers are subsidizing it twice. Some Walmarts have provided workforce housing — by letting the workers live in their cars in the parking lot. Walmart workers have to work on Thanksgiving, which has now become BlackFriday. They run holiday food drives, in which the slightly higher-paid workers are asked to contribute money so that lower-paid employees can have food, probably canned, on the one day they don’t have to work, Christmas. Even minimum wage is too high for some Walmarts, which have gotten in trouble for hiring undocumented workers at sub-minimum wages. Meanwhile, the Walton family, which owns the franchise, are billionaires, and are only getting richer.

Understandably, the workers have been talking of striking for years. But Walmart has said that they will illegally fire all striking workers. Despite this, a strike is finally on. The demand is for a mere fifteen dollars per hour, which is becoming the standard minimum wage in many parts of the USA.

See Walmart, The High Price of Low Costs and then go out and support the striking workers.

Time will be allocated for announcements.

Donations welcome, no one turned away.