on yesterday’s Occupy Oakland event
Yesterday, Occupy Oakland moved to convert a vacant building into a community center 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 reponded: with an overwhelming show of collective resistance. Today, 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.

SOLIDARITY SUNDAY, 7pm EST, Sunday, January 29. Check your local Occupation for convergence points.

Be there.

Washington Square Park 7PM

Former U.S. Marine Scott Olsen, whose injury during clashes between Oakland police and protesters last month galvanized the Anti-Wall Street movement, has been released from the hospital, friends said on Friday.

"He is out of the hospital as of yesterday or today, thank goodness," Adele Carpenter, 29, told Reuters.

Iraq Veterans Against the War spokeswoman Dottie Guy also confirmed Olsen’s release to Reuters.

Olsen is focused on healing right now, Carpenter told Reuters, but she added that “he is following the Occupy protests closely, as well as the vets march against police brutality today.”

"He sent words of affirmation to friends during the Oakland General Strike and has been excited to hear stories from people who could attend," she said.

A man was shot this evening near the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall, witnesses said.

The man was shot outside the 12th Street BART station at 14th Street and Broadway about 5 p.m.

Witnesses said four to six shots were fired. Oakland firefighters performed CPR on the victim, who was taken away in an ambulance.

Two longtime Occupy Oakland campers said they did not recognize the victim and that they did not believe the shooting was related to the encampment.

"This was not an internal incident," said one of the campers, 35-year-old Shake Anderson. "What happened was the result of neighborhood violence. Don’t forget, we’re in downtown Oakland."

SFChronicle and Mercury News just saying that the protesters hit by the mercedes were injured but conscious. Not sure who is pushing the death rumour.

The tensest moments so far have come when dozens of protesters clustered in front of bank branches, which quickly shut their doors and let in only a few customers at a time. Demonstrators pounded on the doors, chanted slogans including, “Don’t feed the greed,” and drew graffiti with the same sentiments on windows and walls…

At another Wells Fargo branch, at Franklin Street near 20th Street, managers locked the doors at 12:30 p.m. as a crowd converged. Protesters drew “jail bankers” on the walls and covered the ATM with yellow caution tape. Later, other protesters came and washed off the graffiti.

“There’s been every effort to keep people peaceful while making our point that banks need to be held accountable,” Joshua Deutch, a 30-year-old Oakland gardener, said as he slammed his fists on the windows.

As Micky Randhawa, Wells Fargo regional president for the East Bay, lamented to a reporter that customers were having a hard time getting into his business, teacher Christine Martin, 30, handed him her ATM card. “I would like to close my account,” she said, adding that this was her way of joining the day’s demonstration.

Randhawa told her the branch was closed.

Coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle on the Occupy Oakland General Strike’s march on banks earlier this afternoon. (via carton-rouge)
#OWS UPDATE: Oakland General Strike, 6pm 2-Nov

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Thousands of workers and students have taken to Oakland’s downtown streets today as part of a daylong general strike called by Occupy Oakland organizers to protest economic inequity and corporate greed.

The crowd, which has forced the closure of some downtown streets, has been peaceful and almost celebratory - a band played and walked with the group and a “flash mob” broke out in dance at one point. Traffic, including AC Transit buses, is being diverted from the area around Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Protesters plastered signs and blocked customers from using ATMs at downtown banks. Many downtown businesses closed for the day.

By noon, the crowd had swelled to 3,500 for a lunchtime rally at 14th and Broadway. Police reported no damage and no arrests but were girding for the possibility of unrest later in the day.

Here’s more of the day’s developments:

  • The Port of Oakland was severely delayed after many longshoremen walked off the job in support of the General Strike.
  • More than 360 Oakland Unified School District teachers did not show up for work today, along with 5% of city workers.
  • Banks were closed across the city, as Oakland officials recommended that the ones who were still open ‘only let customers in one at a time.’
  • Large marches were held around several bank branches including Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo.
  • Many (if not most) businesses downtown were closed.
  • There were a few reports of broken windows at the Lakeside Drive branch of Bank of America, and at a Chase branch. Others reported “anarchists” attempting to cause damage to a Whole Foods, but dozens of marchers surrounded them and forced them to stand down. The Whole Foods was targeted over rumours that their employees were not allowed to participate in today’s work stoppage.

We will have more as things continue into the evening.

    One day before a protest that could be Oakland’s largest in years, the city’s police union questioned the leadership of Mayor Jean Quan and said officers were confused about how they should handle demonstrators…

    The Oakland Police Officers Association released a statement Tuesday noting that after officers cleared the Occupy Oakland camp early on Oct. 25, Quan allowed the protesters to start returning the next day. The raid was accomplished with the help of 16 outside agencies, and follow-up protests turned violent that night, resulting in serious injury to a military veteran who was demonstrating.

    The camp is now larger than it was before the raid, with more than 300 people squatting before City Hall in more than 100 tents.

    "As your police officers, we are confused," the union said.

    The city is allowing employees to participate in the strike that Occupy Oakland has called, the union said, while all officers have been ordered to work.

    "That’s hundreds of city workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against ‘the establishment,’ " said the union, which represents 645 officers. "But aren’t the mayor and her administration part of the establishment they are paying city employees to protest? Is it the city’s intention to have city employees on both sides of a skirmish line?"

    The union’s president, Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, said, “There is no clear mission here. The mayor is painting this picture that we’re the bad guy. We’re just doing our jobs, carrying out her orders, and we need some big leadership now.”

    Oakland police are to be the subject of a formal investigation after Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull at an Occupy Oakland protest last week.

    Oakland’s Citizens’ Police Review Board is launching the investigation after it received a complaint on Friday. Police in Oakland are bracing themselves for a general strike on Wednesday, which has been announced by the city’s Occupy movement and is expected to cause disruption across the city.

    Olsen, 24, was seriously injured after being hit on the head by a police projectile. He is still in hospital and unable to talk, communicating only through short written messages.

    A source at the review board said the investigation will begin in the next few days, and is expected to last “several months”…

    Thousands of Occupy protesters are expected to gather in Oakland for the general strike and mass day of action on Wednesday. The strike aims to “shut down” the city, culminating with a march to the Port of Oakland to prevent the transit of cargo.

    "Oakland was the site of the last general strike in the US," said protester Tim Simons, at a press conference on Monday.

    "On Wednesday, we’re going to make history once again. We’re going to make Oakland proud."

    The Bad and The Ugly: Police Officers’ Forum Abuzz over Scott Olsen’s Injury

    Here’s the thread on the Officer.com forums, a popular spot for police from different departments around the world to gather and chat about… being assholes, presumably. A veritable wellspring of the best of humanity, to be sure.

    Anyway, there are a few gems:

    If it was a cannister…it must have bounced. Surely a direct hit from the cannister would have killed him. Before any deployment of “less lethal” riot control, there is an announcement and a way out…if you disregard the announcement…you are fair game.

    Is he a soldier? I hope the Navy dude and him get court martialed if they are active duty.

    Media is going crazy with this. He is a Iraq war vet. Mayor called for dispersement…and now is apologizing because someone got hurt! Duh! She just got into the position and is as wishy washy as all heck.

    [This user’s forum signature is priceless: “This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can’t desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you’ve made.”]

    But it is ironic that so many that claim first amendment rights are so willing to ignore everyone else’s and the law. Anarchists are the most confused people on Earth, they want rights when it suits them and ignore laws when it suits them. If they really were anarchists then might makes right, if you lose, tough crap. If a hundred thugs rape you and take all your stuff that’s too bad but they cry bloody murder if they think someone is infringing on their speech.

    This is the type of ex military these things usually attract. Being his roomdog got hemmed up also screams ‘drugs’ to me. way to serve ‘honorably’ azzhat.

    Well we know this idiot wasn’t a veteran of combat. He would have learned how to duck.

    Maybe he should have smoked less weed and snorted less coke and his reaction time could have been a lot better and he could have avoided the canister.

    And to be fair, there is a voice of reason…

    He did two tours of duty in Iraq.

    You know…the kid made a poor choice and got hurt. and probably for a dumb reason. It was an unfortunate accident. I’m not saying you should feel sorry for him, but at least say a prayer for his family. not like you care, but his condition has improved. His brain is no longer swelling.

    People’s smartass comments here and general meaness is pretty ugly.

    … but he gets shutdown by someone else in fairly short order:

    If you have worked in the field you would understand. But to let you in on a little secret, cops and firefighters laugh and make jokes about a lot of messed up stuff. :P

    BTW the guy is still an idiot IMO.

    With people “serving and protecting” like this, it’s no wonder why some people say that ACAB.

    Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran injured during police attempts to clear Occupy Oakland on Tuesday, has given a sign of appreciation for the wave of goodwill shown by fellow protesters across the US.

    Olsen’s roommate, Keith Shannon, said the 24-year-old gave a “thumbs-up” after being told of the support he has received – which has included vigils across the US and marches against police brutality.

    Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull when he was apparently being struck by a police projectile on Tuesday and is unable to talk. Officers from more than 15 different police agencies were involved in operations in Oakland on Tuesday, which included the use of tear gas and ‘less lethal’ weapons.

    Shannon said he had visited Olsen on Sunday, and told him of the reaction to his injuries across the hundreds of Occupy protests. “He gave a thumbs-up,” Shannon said.

    Olsen was hit on the right side of the head, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Video footage showed a police officer throwing a non-lethal explosive near to a stricken Olsen as fellow protesters came to his aid.

    Shannon told the Guardian that Olsen is still communicating via written notes – although these tend to be short – and that Olsen’s spelling has suffered since he was injured.

    “He only really writes when he needs something,” Shannon said. Olsen keeps a notepad and pen beside him on the bed to issue the messages, which often consist of just one word.