Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Occupy Oakland - May Day 2012

What was muddy "Lake Quan" at the beginning of winter 2011 is, on May Day 2012, green grass!

Oakland's grass is back (photo: Susan Galleymore)

It lives! Oakland's grass re-surges after being drowned out last year. 

Late last year, Mayor Quan and OPD evicted the Occupy encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza (saying Occupiers encouraged rats and other creatures) then destroyed what was left of the grass.
City of Oakland's Dept Public Works ran sprinklers for days and flooded the park to discourage re-occupation. (See post below for pix of what became known as muddy "Lake Quan").
Today, May Day 2012, the grass is back! Judging by its uneven quality it's not your typical citified seeded lawn grass but the au natural variety that shoots up anytime a chance exists to grow, to thrive, to reproduce, and to prosper!
A great metaphor for Occupy Oakland!

Black Bloc-ers round the May pole outside Oakland City Hall. 

Anarchy...and recycling the Maypole

This is the first view of the day of a Maypole, this one bedecked with dark green ribbon. Here, a group of Black Bloc-ers dance around the pole and weave the ribbons...then they turn around and go in the opposite direction and un-weave the ribbons.
A recyclable Maypole!
Another great metaphor for Oakland ("what ye Anarchists weave, so shall ye have the opportunity to un-weave")?
This particular Maypole appeared throughout the day around Oscar Grant Plaza -- then re-appeared for the the evening rally having been carried (and weaved/unweaved?) along the march route from the Court House to 14th and Broadway and the plaza.

Views of OPD

Shortly after I arrived at 14th and Broadway at noon  two flash bangs exploded on Broadway, north of 14th and, by the sound of it, close to 15th or 16th. By the time I arrived at 15th, OPD (and friends? - there were lots of 'em) was firmly lined across 14th. The standoff continued for sometime then, as people drifted away, the cops dispersed too.
About 12:30 or so, a group of about six, one of them a woman carrying a mic and accompanied by what looked like independent media assistants all loudly urged a man and a woman away from the group: "get the fuck out of here...go, get the fuck out of here!" Not sure what to make of it - other than this couple had violated some code of behavior and were personae non grata. The cowed couple seemed to agree as they put up little resistance to their unceremonious ejection. No police involved.

About 1:38p a call went up that OPD was massing behind City Hall.  A group of about a dozen young men dressed in black with masks marched over yelling, among other phrases, "Anarchy is total freedom" and aligned in front of what turned out to be about two dozen police.
They stood around until, about ten minutes later, a group of about 60 to 80 arrived carrying a banner: "No Borders. No Stayaway Orders." This group circled City Hall several times until, at about 2:15p another couple of flash bangs exploded, this time on 14th near Clay.
About 99% of the crowd surged over to 14th/Clay.
I did not see who exploded the flashbangs although by all accounts (and a variety of mainstream media) it was the police -- apparently to thwart threats of violence against them. 
OPD began congregating on each street leading to the intersection at 14th and Broadway. At first they stood about a block away ...then incrementally, each batch came closer and closer.

Looking east down 14th


 Coming down 14th from west


Looking south, police come down Broadway toward intersection


Leading up to the arrest of yet another peaceful meditator, this time in the intersection of 14th and Broadway 


OPD - and colleagues from surrounding cities - close in on the intersection......then they pack up and leave - at least for a while...

The APC is going...

...and the APC leaves!

Street scenes and signs of the times

Early Birds can pay an extra 18.5 percent tax on $6.75 to park near downtown Oakland. A good example of what Occupy is about - egregious taxes for the many into the pocket of the few.

"Coffee, not Cops" - sign carried through the streets on May Day 2012.

Symbolic barricade on Broadway near 14th.

"Dignity and Resistance, May Day." Group of students gathered for the evening rally.

OPD guarding the entrance to City Hall, May Day 2012.

Several thousand gathered at the intersection of 14th and Broadway for an evening rally.

Yet another message to the once-"radical" and "revolutionary" Jean Quan, now Mayor Quan.

Moon over the Tribune.

(All photos by Susan Galleymore, Occupy Oakland, May Day 2012. Rights reserved.)

Read another blog post on Occupy Oakland, May Day 2012.

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