Police in Oakland, California, rounded up dozens of people who had been calling attention to the Black women that have died as a result of police brutality.
The Northern California city is cracking down after a series of violent protests in 2014. The Associated Press reports that according to Mayor Libby Schaaf’s new policy, people are no longer allowed to rally in the street in order to cut back on violence…oh, and property damage (which is probably the real motivation for the new law). She cited a protest on May 1, where people participating in a rally for Black men killed by police brutality allegedly damaged businesses along Oakland’s auto mall, as a motivator for this change.
In accordance with the new policy, cops apprehended dozens of people on Saturday after coming up against around 100 protesters that refused to be pushed aside. The group, which was demonstrating against the new law, was ordered to disband. During the brief stand-off, officers arrested and cited those that responded by sitting in the street and captured others that were trying to run away.
The incident marked the second time that protesters had come up against authorities inside of a week. Their first run-in happened last Thursday during a similar demonstration, where they were protesting police brutality against Black women. Cops pushed people from the street up onto the sidewalk. Saturday’s demonstration was against the new law.
“You can’t run roughshod over people because they’re protesting your oppression,” said Cat Brooks, who organized both protests. “You can’t push us off the streets.” She added that this incident has not deterred demonstrators, who are planning more protests against the new law in the near future.
And if you were pondering how the new, counter-intuitive law would prevent property damage, lawyer Rachel Lederman doesn’t get it either. That’s saying something when you consider that she helped Oakland draft its crowd-control policy.
“It doesn’t make any sense because saying that marches have to be on the sidewalk has absolutely no relationship to impending property damage that might occur,” she mused. “Obviously that would happen on a sidewalk, not a street.”