Exhilarating night last night! This march in solidarity with OccupyOakland’s General Strike was organized beautifully by OccupyLA’s COMMITTEE TO END POLICE BRUTALITY – arguably one of the most vital committees operating within OccupyLA. And we aren’t too proud to mention that one of the key organizers for the event (and the committee) is one of our very own UCLA Fights Back compañeras, Alejandra Cruz!
The march started at 6pm from OccupyLA’s main site at City Hall. A few hundred people of all ages, color, gender, sexuality, and ability, joined forces to speak out against the violent police crackdown that occurred in Oakland last week, and has been occurring frequently in many of our Los Angeles communities for way too long.
We moved through the downtown skyline with the setting sun at our backs. “Black, Brown, Asian, White – We support the General Strike!” bounced off buildings near and far. We took over the 2nd Street Tunnel and impeded traffic, refusing to stay on the sidewalks, or obey police orders.
“Power- Occupy, Organize, Strike!” and other solidarity chants carried the crowd’s momentum all the way back to LAPD Headquarters next to City Hall, where people bumrushed the steps and the marble LAPD sign with banners and bodies. The crowd occupied the LAPD for a few hours with speeches and chants and artwork. The march organizers completed the evening’s event by taking the names of people murdered by the LAPD and taping them to the wall. All of the names and dates of death were read allowed. It was a truly powerful gesture, especially when considering that many of the communities who have lost loved ones at the hands of the LAPD were celebrating the holiday of Dia de Los Muertos that evening.
The police encircled protestors fairly quickly, and prepared themselves to push back against the crowd. They decided ultimately to allow the crowd to dissipate on its own. Smart move on their end considering it was a march to end police brutality. None of that, however, stopped Mario Brito, one of the “managers” who has emerged to “govern” OccupyLA, from working with the cops to find out how to disperse the crowd from police headquarters.
Brito, pictured above on the right, has made every attempt during this Occupation to appease the police. This has led to Occupy participants who are critical of the police being labeled “rabblerousers” or a “dangerous faction”. But it has been difficult for many of us in the Occupy movement to turn a blind eye to the violent police crackdowns happening in Oakland, WallStreet, and in many of our own LA communities. The solidarity march w/ the Oakland General Strike exposed that there is a growing number of people in this Occupy Movement who are not only critical of Wealth and Power, but critical of the way the Police, as an institution, are set up to defend, sometimes violently, the Wealthy and Powerful.