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Oscar Grant Protest at City Hall and Courthouse

Thursday, January 15, 2009
Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on pic)

Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on pic)

Related blog posts: Fruitvale Bart Station Protest: The Rally, The Riot, Bloggers on the Oakland Riots, “To survive in these times,” Grant’s Killer Arrested.

Yesterday I was able to meet up with some friends, comrades, and kasamas during the protests in Oakland.  Might I add they were wonderful, the energy was positive, there was a lot of people of color (majority or close to it), and around 1,300 to 2,000 people.  The Oakland PD put the protest at around 1,000 but I find that extermely undervalued.  I have been going to protests since 2002 and I have become adept at juding the amount of people at a protest (I normally use my high school of 1,200 students as a mental note and how “big” we looked in crowds, which is not that big) and I would say it is safe to assume near 2,000 people, especially judging how long it took for the front of the march to the back of the march to cross one single intersection.

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic)

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic)

Like last time I recorded some of the speeches from the protest and want to highlight them here (somebody’s got to do it since the Chronicle doesn’t seem to give a shit about what the organizers actually have to say in their speeches as they have, again, decided to not highlight any of the community concerns).

I showed up late but I was able to catch most of the speeches when everyone went to the Courthouse.  The speakers were speaking into a microphone in front of the DA’s office (across from the courthouse) on top of a van with large speakers; in between speeches a group of black gentlemen would bang on drums to create some ambiance in between each speaker.

Behind the speakers and right in front of the courthouse were two large purple banners, one read:

Fuck the Police

While the one next to it read:

We are all Oscar Grant

Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on the pic)

Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on the pic)

One of the speakers stated to the large crowd:

Once we are divided wer will be conqured.  The only way we can be heard is for peaceful militant protest!

We need police officers that think like people!  Not people that think like police officers!

Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on pic)

Photo by Sasha Kelley (click on pic)

A woman came up to the stage reading a statement from a death row inmate in San Quinton, didn’t catch his name:

I am disgusted by the Bart police spokespeople for what they said.  That what what we saw was not murder and that it needed to be investigated.

Since the videos were so clear it what happened to young Oscar Grant.

A man from a Chicano movement organization spoke:

I am!

Oscar Grant!

This is not just a Black struggle!  This is a struggle of the oppressed many against the enslaving few!

We are not asking!  We are demanding the immediate conviction of the officer and officers responsible!

We are united under on cause!

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic)

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic)

Then actor of Mr. Cooper fame Mark Curry took the mic:

Don’t ride Bart!  We gotta protest Bart!  Bay Area Rapid Transit?!  Morel like Bay Area Racist Transit!

Don’t let them to allow to treat you like animals! We are peopleWe are Oakland!

After Mr. Curry a group of young women of color came up to the mic and read off some poetry and spoke, one of them talked about the Black community being brutalized by the state and local governments:

That’s why they keep shooting us!  To enforce Black inferiority! We need to rise and organize!

Another man stated:

We have a tradition here!  From the Black Panethers to the political progressives who have left us a legacy of organizing!

To keep this movement live we need to be live!

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic).

Photo by Frederic Larson / The Chronicle (click on pic).

After the speeches were done we marched back to Oakland City Hall while being escourted by a group of fellow protestors on choppers at the front of the march.  Along the way I saw many posters along the street of Oscar Grant III as well as a large street mural of Oscar Grant on the side of a wall.

Photo by Michael Maloney / The Chronicle (click on pic).

Photo by Michael Maloney / The Chronicle (click on pic).

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3 Comments
  1. Thursday, January 15, 2009 11:46 pm

    It’s a stretch comparing the situation to Greece. There is a sense amongst youth of hopelessness, that is manifesting itself in militant action.

    At the same time the labor, communist and socialist parties are embracing capitalism more then ever.

  2. Friday, January 16, 2009 5:39 am

    Who’s comparing the situation to Greece?

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