The peaceful protesters in Oakland, California who want to make their case about the need for better, more equitable relations between police and the African-American community chose a rather interesting way to make their point this week. They decided to blockade the police station.
At least seven protesters have been arrested among dozens that blocked the entrances to Oakland Police Department headquarters this morning to call for the end of police killings of unarmed black people.
The action started around 7:45 a.m. outside the police building at 455 Seventh St., where protesters chained themselves to the building and others blocked nearby streets and a highway off-ramp.
Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said two doors had been cleared as of about 9 a.m. and police had made seven arrests. Two doors remained blocked and Watson said police would be methodically working around the building to clear the remaining protesters.
I can recall during the height of the Occupy movement protests, particularly here in New York, thinking that there was little rhyme or reason to the tactics and agenda of the protesters. Yes, the squalid camps, rape tents and activist hobos urinating on the cars of city employees seemed a bit rudderless in terms of an overall media strategy, but you could still almost see a message under it all. They marched on Wall Street institutions – at least part of the time – and clearly did not care for successful capitalists. But these marches and activities in the wake of Ferguson and Staten Island have truly driven off the cliffs of logic and defy description.
Protesters don’t want cops shooting young black men “at will” in America. Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, the current media tsunami of narrative journalism feeds into that perception, so you can kind of understand where it’s coming from. But the caveat which is on display in most of the coverage of these protests is that nobody wants violence or crime taking place. This is all a peaceful protest and discussion. But at the same moment, video images flicker across the small screen of cars being overturned, shops burning, fights breaking out… and who has to deal with that? In a civil society it’s the police.
So your response to this is to blockade the police station and stop the officers from coming and going to do their jobs under your watchful eye? And while we’re at it, what say we stage activities which will result in damage the police station as well?
The glass door to one entrance was broken by police tools while officers cut the protesters free, she said.
The group is “extremely well organized” and has been communicative with police, Watson said. But since the police headquarters is a public safety building, the ability to access it is important, she said.
Broadway was also shut down between Sixth and Seventh streets as of 8:30 a.m. by activists locked together with PVC pipes and chanting “black lives matter.”
If anyone has a good explanation for this, please clue me in. This entire effort seems self-defeating if their actual intent is as stated.