This past May Day, autonomous/anarchist people of color held a contingent of about 75 people within the Sin Fronteras’ Immigrant Solidarity march. Although the contingent had a clear non-reformist and unapologetic stance about immigration, they spent the day in solidarity with those struggling against unjust labor and immigration policies.
The mood of the march was joyous and celebratory. During the march, two Muslim anarchists spotted large men who seemed out of place and were paying too much attention to the group. One cop was snapping photos of the Muslims within the contingent.
Demonstrating proper Addab (Islamic etiquette), the Muslim anarchists confronted the men who were clearly undercover police, stopped them from taking photos, and with the support of the rest of the autonomous/anarchist contingent sent them on their way with chants of “Pigs Out!” and “Pigs are Haraam!” Embarrassed and exposed, the two undercover officers slipped away through the crowds watching the spectacle.
On May Day 2012, demonstrators from across the bay area converged in Downtown Oakland to participate in the annual May Day General Strike.
While the day began with spirited marches that snaked throughout downtown, Oakland Police would inevitably intervene by toppling over a female bicycle rider and arresting her. From there Oakland Police would pull multiple people from out of the crowd, taking them to the ground and arresting them.
Video Shot by Jacob Crawford
In the midst of the chaos, members of Oakland Police’s TANGO unit (a group designated to shoot projectiles and use gas against demonstrators) would throw flash bang grenades into groups of people and Tased at least one person (see post)
One thing that is important to note is that responsibility for the deployment of gas falls not only on the officers in control of the weapons, but their supervisors.
Note in this video shot by Simon Sedillo you can see LT Hamilton instructing TANGO Officer Mike Beaver where to throw a flash bang grenade.
Video by Simon Sedillo
In another incident of poor top down instructions, In 2011, Captain Ersie Joyner was reassigned after being accused of giving poor instructions to Victor Garcia regarding when to shoot protesters during the November 2nd General Strike. A young man by the name of Scott Campbell would be one of many people shot and gassed that evening due to poor decision making on Oakland Police’s part.
Video of Scott Campbell getting shot. Taken by Scott Campbell