Occupy movement erupts over mass Oakland Arrests

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FOUR hundred Occupy Oakland protesters were arrested following clashes with police in the Northern California city last Sunday.

Across the US and Europe occupy protesters responded by taking to the streets in defence of the Oakland occupiers.

The mass arrests in Oakland, described by police as the largest in city history, have injected new life into the Occupy movement.

Protesters in a whole number of American and European cities took to the streets on Sunday to express their solidarity with the Occupy Oakland group.

Occupy Wall Street said: ‘The Occupy movement will respond, as we have always responded: With an overwhelming show of collective resistance.’

Occupy Oakland described what happened: ‘Occupy Oakland moved to convert a vacant building into a community centre to provide education, medical, and housing services for the 99%.

‘Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbag rounds and mass arrests.

‘The state has compounded its policy of callous indifference with a ruthless display of violent repression.

‘The Occupy movement will respond, as we have always responded: with an overwhelming show of collective resistance.

‘We take to the streets. Across the country, we will demonstrate our resolve to overcome repression and continue to build a better world grounded in love and solidarity for one another. All eyes on all Occupies.’

In response to extreme police violence used against Occupy Oakland demonstrations, marches and protests erupted on the streets of towns and cities across the states and Europe.

There were demonstrations in New York City, Boston, Toronto, Vancouver, Melbourne, Oslo, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, Tampa, Indianapolis, New Haven, Orlando, Jackson, Des Moines, Hollywood, Baltimore, Portland ME, Tulsa, Denver, St Louis, Eugene, Nashville, and Detroit.

Before a march set off in Boston in support of the Oakland occupiers this statement was read out:

‘1) Once again we are here for Oakland a mighty city and a fierce ally in the international struggle for economic justice.

2) Yesterday our brothers and sisters moved to convert a vacant building into a community centre to provide education health care and housing services for the 99%. Police responded with tear gas, flashbang grenades, rubber bullets, and mass arrests.

3) The city of Oakland has a long-standing policy of callous indifference when it comes to the needs of its community. It has compounded this cruelty with a ruthless display of violent repression.

4) We also recognise that the corporate media has a vested interest in justifying violence against the occupation movement. City councilman de la Fuente referred to protesters as domestic terrorists.

5) We ask you what is terrorism? We are 19 cities marching in unison in solidarity with Oakland. Is this terrorism? We seek to reclaim the buildings left vacant while our families suffer. Is this terrorism?

‘We seek to build a worldwide community where there have been only nations. Is this terrorism?

6) When the state is invested in keeping space empty the better to serve its billionaire masters we will act, and when the police are bought and paid for by corporate leviathans we will fight,

‘7) and when our children ask us what it is that we did when their future was threatened we will tell them that we occupied.’

Oakland has been a flash point of the Occupy movement since October, when police used tear gas to break up demonstrators who refused to leave downtown.

One demonstrator, an Iraq war veteran, suffered a skull fracture after being hit with a police projectile.

Occupy Oakland made a call for funds to help with the bail-out the four hundred Oakland occupiers that have been arrested.

Occupy Oakland said: ‘Police Chief Howard Jordan has been quoted in AP saying there were almost 400 people arrested yesterday.

‘There are many people who were arrested that need urgent medical attention, people who have been injured by the police or do not have their medication with them that they need to treat prior conditions.

‘We need the money to bail these people out!

‘Many people who have medical needs were unable to prevent themselves from being arrested, or to retrieve their medication, because the police did not give a dispersal order – they just kettled. We are still gathering names.

‘Our bail funds have been dwindling significantly as a result of the police backlash against Occupy Oakland in the last month, if you are able.

PLEASE donate – 10, 50, 100, whatever you can!’

Meanwhile Occupy Wall Street reported that on Sunday morning an occupier in Washington DC was tasered.

Occupy Wall Street said: ‘Sunday morning, while the National Park Service police were handing out ‘no camping’ notices to McPherson Square, an occupier at Occupy DC was tasered apparently for walking near his home.

‘The tasering resulted in a seizure – most likely due to a pre-existing medical condition.

‘Witnesses say the victim attempted to notify the police about his medical condition but the police initially blocked his request for an ambulance.

‘He was eventually sent to a hospital. The attacking officer’s name is allegedly Lemke – NPS badge number no. 398.

‘According to the NPS, police began enforcing the no-camping rule at 12.00pm on Monday.

‘Occupy DC has vowed “to defend our dream and right to sleep”.

‘Anyone in the area should join them as soon as possible to prepare for possible eviction this week!

‘The DC Metro Labour Council has called local labour to turn out, saying “Occupy DC has been on the frontlines for working people. It’s our turn to stand with them”.’

Occupy DC said: ‘We give shelter and voice to those who have had none. Attempted foreclosure upon our home will not solve homelessness or improve our health and safety. Nor will it quiet us.

‘Occupy DC is a voice for the 99%, whose voices have been kept out of the back rooms and muzzled in our economic and political conversations.

‘We will defend free speech and our vision of a just society from attempted repression by the 1% – by any peaceful means necessary.’