Protesters from the Occupy Movement in Oakland had been marching towards a vacant building they hoped to occupy as a new home and community center. The event was called Move-in Day, and was scheduled to include a party, with music and teaching events. The Police blocked them from their first attempt, with rubber bullets, tear gas, and flashbang grenades. They retreated to a city park, to re-group. At one point their numbers were over 2,000.
At dusk they set out for their second choice of a vacant building to occupy and to host the event. When they got to the YMCA, the police "kettled" them by blocking all streets and circling them. Using a speaker or bull horn the police announced that the protesters would ALL be arrested, for failing to disperse, and that they must "submit to arrest" NOW. Some protesters ran into the YMCA after employees opened the doors for them. A few employees lead them to exits located elsewhere in the building. Other protesters scaled a fence, and ran to safety.
Those unable to escape, submitted as instructed. There were hundreds of them. Their march had been peaceful. Previous marches in Oakland and elsewhere also resulted in "kettling", but usually the police allowed marchers to exit through specific openings in the "kettle blockades". Arrests usually were in the low teens at these previous events.
But this time was different.
This march came after a week of protests from the Occupy Movement at major banks in the Bay area, attempting to draw attention to unfair banking practices which they feel have hurt the majority of Americans, while allowing 1% of Americans to increase their wealth. It also came after President Obama signed a unique version of the annual military spending Bill, (the NDAA), which included add-ons allowing the indefinite detention of American citizens without legal representation, or a court hearing. This Bill was signed silently, on New Years eve, without public discussion, by President Obama.
The hundreds of protesters arrested last night, were taken away in multiple buses. It was a chilling sight. Where would they be detained? How long will they be held? Will they be charged or merely detained?
I had to wonder if these initial mass arrests were being carried out because the protesters had occupied the banks in the Bay area during the previous week. Had the banks used their influence to take harsher actions against the protesters? Or was it a way to reduce the number of the protesters available for future actions? There was some discussion that those arrested may be issued a special Order to "stay away" from Oakland because they had been arrested multiple times.
When the mainstream press finally published their articles on these events in Oakland, they reported distorted and false facts. They said the majority of arrests, over 300, occurred at an earlier march. Clearly,to the 5000 people watching the livestreaming video from Spencer Mills, (@oakfosho) or the thousands watching the other streams, this was not the case. Look at the people arrested below. The majority of arrests occurred at the 2nd march, after dusk, ending in front of the YMCA. The mass arrest was an Orwelllian scene, occurring after the entrapment by police and the command "submit to arrest".
The mainstream media are emphasizing an event at City Hall in Oakland as the event that triggered the police action. This is false. If you were one of the thousands watching the livestreaming in Oakland last night, you saw that this occurred after the mass arrest. They are also reporting it was a large group of protesters who undertook the action at City Hall. Again, this is a false report. It was a small group that splintered off from the main group, after the arrests. Look at the video footage from @punkboyinsf on Twitter. He covered this event. The majority of the thousands of protesters at the march were unaware of this event. A small group, entered City Hall, after the mass arrests. They burned an American flag in a symbolic gesture. They damaged property in City Hall. Again, this occurred after the mass arrests. It was however a useful event for the corporate media, who seem to want to support a re-telling of facts that support police action, however wrong it may have been. This only makes matters worse.