Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Occupy Oakland reacts to Thursday's violence in Ogawa Plaza"

"Occupier Fingai Gova addesses the media after Thursday night's murder in Ogawa Plaza" (Eric K. Arnold):
Nov. 10 marked the one-month anniversary of Occupy Oakland - the political, social, and economic protest and encampment against corporate greed, social inequality and police brutality, which took over Frank Ogawa Plaza, in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

But instead of a planned birthday celebration, the Occupy camp turned into a somber vigil, after a late-afternoon outbreak of violence turned deadly, resulting in a fight that led to the shooting of a young man just outside the encampment, on the steps of Frank Ogawa Plaza at just before 5 p.m. Thursday.
Following the incident, the scene in Ogawa Plaza was somber. Dozens of media members clambered about. OPD sealed off the crime scene with yellow tape. Occupiers and their supporters gazed sadly at the proceedings. Some lit candles and burned sage. Others milled around, talking amongst themselves about what this latest incident meant and the possibility that the encampment might be raided this very evening.

“I think it’s ridiculous how there’s so much police here, all this media coverage, just because it’s in front of Occupy Oakland,” said Marsha, a single mother and encampment resident, who declined to give her last name.

Had the shooting happened down the street, “Maybe it would have been on the news, but there wouldn’t have been so much attention on it,” she said.

“Only because it’s in Occupy Oakland, they’re making a big deal out of it," Marsha continued. "We already have a bad rep over here about the violence. For someone to get killed in front of Occupy Oakland, it’s all bad. They’re gonna shut it down tonight, I‘m pretty sure, and we won’t be able to come back.” The act of violence, she added, “defeats the whole purpose why we’re out here.”

Khalid Shakur, one of the most visible occupiers over the past month, emphasized that there was “absolutely no connection between the fight and what the Occupy/Decolonize movement is built on or trying to establish.

"They were individuals that we were trying to bring into the movement and trying to rehabilitate," Shakur said. "Once again, there were infiltrators from the police department and several other factions such as black bloc using psychological warfare on young black men to either break windows or to have some kind of violent interaction."

Today was the day, Shakur said, "it came to a boiling point.” What happened today, he speculated, “was a case of typical Oakland black on black crime … [It’s] a shame that it happened outside of the steps of Occupy/Decolonize Oakland.” MORE...

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