Oakland Activists Blockade Police Station 4 Hours & 28 Minutes
Multi-Layered Blockade Results in Clear Messages about Police Violence and Racism as well as the Power of Solidarity, Results in 37 Arrests
In an impressive multi-layered blockade of the Oakland police headquarters, activists made clear points about the police brutality and abuse
they have experienced in Oakland and many have experienced throughout the country. The blockade included a combination of blockading tactics, activists linking arms or using lock boxes, blockading four doors of the police station, blockading roadways and sidewalks. They successfully held the space for more than four hours singing songs about justice and chanting about racism and solidarity. One person climbed a flagpole and flew a flag with the faces of African Americans killed in police violence which remembered the lives of Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Alex Nieto, Renisha McBride, and Michael Brown. They showed exceptional solidarity and coordination of activities. At the same time other activists blockaded other roadways and the entrance to a highway.
At approximately 7:30 am this morning, the Oakland Police Department Headquarters was blockaded by protestors demanding an end to racist violence against the Black community. One person climbed the flagpole directly in front of the Oakland Police Department Headquarters to fly a banner in honor of Black people murdered by police. Minutes later, a group of about 30 Black protesters occupied the space in front of the police department and called for an immediate end to the war on Black people.
As members from the all-Black groups #BlackLivesMatter, Blackout Collective, and #BlackBrunch sang freedom songs for the many Black people killed at the hands of police and for the Black community who is still breathing, an Asian solidarity group called #Asians4BlackLives blockaded the doors to the police station. They were joined by a white solidarity group called Bay Area Solidarity Action Team (BASAT), who also blockaded entrances into the building. A total of four sets of doors were blocked at the police headquarters.
The press release highlights the length of time they held the space:
Protestors proudly sustained their action for 4 hours and 28 minutes: 4 hours for the time Michael Brown’s body lay in the street in Ferguson and 28 minutes to represent the fact that every 28 hours in the US a Black person is killed by police, military, security or vigilantes.
#Asians4BlackLives released a statement their solidarity with African Americans and their vision of a new world. Some highlights:
We stand on the doorstep of the Oakland Police Department today as a group of Asians putting our bodies on the line in response to a national call to shut down institutions that perpetrate the war on Black people. It is unacceptable that every 28 hours a Black person is killed by the police, security or vigilantes.
As Asians, we recognize the ways in which we’ve been used historically to prop up the anti-Black racism that allows this violence to occur.
. . . Many of us came to the U.S. as a result of the devastation and displacement caused by the US military and its “partners” in Asia, only to find a country uses police to devastate and displace black communities. However, we also recognize the relative privilege that many of us carry as Asians living in the U.S.
. . . We hope that Asian communities will join us in reflecting on and continuing to practice an intentional Black-Asian solidarity, as we work toward the vision offered by organizers in Ferguson:
“We are striving for a world where we deal with harm in our communities through healing, love, and kinship. This means an end to state sponsored violence, including the excessive use of force by law enforcement. We are committed to an America that comes to terms with the trauma of its painful history and finds true reconciliation for it. Mass incarceration and the over criminalization of black and brown people must forever end, leaving in its place a culture that embraces our histories and stories. This means an end to racial bias and white supremacy in all its forms.
Our dreams are directly linked with those resisting militarism, war, and state repression around the world. We will achieve this new beloved community hand in hand, step by step, in global solidarity with all people committed to lasting peace and full justice.”
In an article reviewing the movement against police brutality, Alyssa Figueroa reports:
On Monday, protesters with the Oakland-based Blackout Collective, an all-black direct action collective, chained themselves to Oakland Police Department headquarters, effectively locking down the department. About 200 protesters gathered in solidarity. White allies joined in the protests by chaining themselves together and blocking off the intersections leading to the department. Asian allies blocked another set of doors to the department. Latino allies and elderly activists also blocked streets. One activist replaced the flag in front of the OPD with one bearing the faces of those killed by police violence. Police made 25 arrests for “obstructing and blocking a public safety building and delaying a police officer.” Police were forced to use bolt cutters to break the chains on the headquarters’ doors.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
A live-stream video via Blackout Collective shows demonstrators blocking a doorway outside the headquarters and singing, “Calling out the violence of the racist police” as they were taken into custody by officers.
Oakland police said Monday afternoon that 25 people had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing and blocking a public safety building and delaying a police officer.
One protester climbed a flagpole and raised a banner, which protesters said commemorated men and women killed by police. Protesters chained shut four of the building’s entrances and then chained themselves to the doors.
. . .
A woman filming the demonstrations said on live video that 100 protesters had been marching through the rain-soaked streets of Oakland since 7:30 a.m. She tweeted, “I repeat OPD is shut down!!!”
Elsewhere, Oakland police said a dozen protesters were chained to one another and were blocking the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street. Protesters also were chained together on the northbound Interstate 880 at Broadway, closing access to the freeway ramp.
. . .
The Bay Area Solidarity Action Team said in a statement that the 4 1/2-hour blockade at police headquarters — in which protesters separated themselves into race-based groups including black, white and Asian — was a demand for “an end to racist violence against the black community.”
“Silence is violence,” said Felicia Gustin. “The abusive treatment of people of color by the police is a moral crisis for our country and our city, and we cannot turn a blind eye any longer. It is time for white people to join with black communities to end the war on black people.”
The press release from the Bay Area Solidarity Team reports on the arrests:
By noon, the protest was cleared. 37 arrests were made and most protestors were cited and released quickly. Charges against protestors included obstructing public agencies and resisting police officers. While cutting protestors away from one door, authorities accidentally smashed a window of the police department.