By pretty much all accounts, last night was tense but hopeful for the Occupy movement in the Bay Area. (For an account of the national movement, check out Brian Spears’ roundup from this morning.)
This is somewhat of a relief after Tuesday night, when a coalition of Bay Area police used tear gas, nonlethal rounds, and more in Oakland, critically injuring 24 year-old veteran Scott Olsen by shooting him in the face with a projectile and then throwing a flash grenade at the people trying to help him. There are also reports of a journalist having the camera ripped out of his hands and then being shot with a beanbag by the police when he protested. Al Jazeera is citing an unconfirmed report that one prisoner has been beaten, called “Poncho” for being Latino, and tortured for filing a police brutality claim.
The fallout is immense. Occupy Oakland reclaimed Frank Ogawa Plaza last night, though as of now I hear the encampment is small. It is looking increasingly likely that the violence will cost Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, the Oakland Police Chief, and others their careers. Quan’s legal advisor has publicly stated he is considering quitting in protest.
In the meantime, there is international support developing for the Marine, with organizers in Egypt saying they will march in Tahrir Square in support of Olsen. BoingBoing has a good roundup of how you can help. Vigils will be held from him at occupies throughout the country tonight. And boy, the Marines are pissed.
Thankfully, he was updated from critical to fair condition overnight.
Occupy Oakland is officially calling for a general strike.
Meanwhile, across the Bay in San Francisco, though police are saying it was a “training exercise,” it looks as if police were attempting to shut down OccupySF last night (and that’s a link to the conservative-leaning Examiner.) When approximately a thousand people showed up to voice their support, the cops failed to show. State Senator Leland Yee, Supervisor and Mayoral Candidates John Avalos and David Chiu and several members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors joined in, many calling for Mayor Ed Lee to back off and stop wasting taxpayer money. On the livefeed I was watching, organizers even had to ask some people to move to other locations because it was getting too crowded.
In regard to the “training exercise,” several protestors spent the evening following the police—who were loaded into Muni buses—as they went from Potrero Hill to Treasure Island and back. @sfslim, @chmod007, @soyxango, and @bengrimshaw kept us up-to-date, complete with pictures of the cops. (Per their Tweets, apparently the cops didn’t love being followed, but this strategy makes the antiauthoritarian in me giddy.)
Writers are showing up too. 50 Bay Area authors, including Dave Eggers, Michelle Tea, Rebecca Solnit, and our own Isaac Fitzgerald, signed a letter condemning what happened in Oakland.