Our OWS correspondent, Kim Boekbinder, has sent Myles Boisen‘s own reportage our way. Myles, an Oakland-based musician and photographer, was one of thousands of citizens attending the downtown OWS protest there this week. Here are two separate collections of writing and imagery from him in one go– the first written/compiled after the worldwide headline-grabbing events of the 25th, and the second completed early this morning, PST. Feel free to repost/distribute any text or photos. Thank you, Myles! Kim’s next installment of “Occupy Everywhere” will be along shortly as well. –Mer
All photography in this post is by Myles Boisen, and was shot in downtown Oakland, CA between October 25th and 27th.
A Taste of Tear Gas (10/25/11)
I first noticed the constant whine of helicopters at about 4 pm today. Checking the news, I learned that the Occupy Oakland camp in downtown Oakland had been cleared by police in the middle of the night, and a series of afternoon protests had been called in the nearby area. With plans in place to go downtown later that night, I searched the internet with a mix of curiosity and anxiety for news of what was happening.
A flurry of twitter messages at the www.occupyoakland.org site detailed a few non-violent marches snaking throughout the downtown area, all headed for the disputed encampment that had become known in recent weeks as “Oscar Grant Park”. An Oakland teacher’s brigade led the march. As phrases like “unlawful assembly” “tear gas” and “bring gas masks” began popping up in OWS feeds, I knew I had to head downtown – camera in hand – to see for myself.
Before heading out, I followed a link on the www.occupyoakland.org site that encouraged me to send an email to the office of mayor Jean Quan. In this missive I identified myself as a business owner, renter, and taxpayer in Oakland, as well as someone who supports the Occupy movement, and now regrets voting for our popular first-term mayor. I also pointed out that concerns about sanitation at the Occupy camp could have been efficiently and affordably dealt by allotting a few city resources, rather than calling out the costly full-scale police assault we are currently witnessing. Protests can also be directed to the OPD and Oakland City council members by phone or email through easily accessed municipal websites. Now would be a very good time to make your feelings known, via the internet or by showing up in Oakland to add your voice and support.
Walking by foot down a mostly deserted Broadway through downtown, there were no broken windows, no smashed cars, not even a single broken bottle. Wisps of smoke from a smoldering garbage can fire were the only evidence of anything close to a “riot”, at least until I arrived at 14th and Broadway to see the line of police and sheriffs in full riot gear, lined up behind barricades to prevent the re-taking of Oscar Grant Park.