Dear MoveOn member,
Last night, Scott Olsen, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq, was struck in the head by a "nonlethal" projectile fired by the Oakland police. The round fractured his skull, leaving him in critical condition.1
Olsen had joined with other members of Occupy Oakland to peacefully protest the group's eviction that morning. When a group gathered to help Olsen after he was hit, a police officer threw a flash bang grenade into the group from a few feet away.
Deeply disturbing video of the incident was captured by a local news crew and provides the clearest evidence yet of the lengths that authorities will go to to stop Occupy protesters from voicing uncomfortable truths about our economy.
Yesterday's eviction in the predawn hours2, and last night's violence against protesters, are only the latest attempts to silence the voices of those who are speaking up for the 99%. But members of Occupy Oakland, who faced the most brutal crackdown yet, refuse to be intimidated. They've called for another peaceful gathering tonight to stand up for their First Amendment rights.3
To help defend their rights, we're scrambling to put together a rapid response ad to run in Oakland urging the mayor and the police to end their brutal tactics and respect the protesters' rights. We want to make sure everyone in Oakland sees the footage of the crackdown for themselves. Every dollar we raise will go to pay for the ad, and if there's anything left over, we'll donate it to a group doing good work helping our veterans as they come home from war.
We're also supporting a petition by a local Oakland group—Causa Justa :: Just Cause—to Oakland's mayor to stop the police repression of Occupy Oakland.
Many MoveOn members experienced the police crackdown firsthand last night. Here's what some of them said:
The police were intimidating and I have been to many protests in my life, but nothing quite like this. I have never seen such a police presence with such force, especially for a calm crowd. The tear gas was pretty brutal, it is still on my clothes and skin this morning. Anywhere in downtown Oakland had the smell and sting of the gas all night. —Gina W.
We talked to the police across the barricades about how we were also fighting for them, for their children's shot to education without lifelong debt, for the preservation of their collective bargaining rights. We expressed this solidarity knowing that they might not be listening, but we also know that the reasons for not listening are deeply personal... —Julie K.
As a retired military man, I wanted to reiterate what [I heard] the Marine Sgt espousing to the police: There is NO honor in brutalizing your own people. The tear gas stung but I have been exposed to worse, including Agent Orange. What I saw at Ogawa Plaza made me extremely proud of those brave souls that were passionate about their causes. As we say in the Marine Corp and Navy...BRAVO ZULU.—Pete H.
Thanks for all you do.
Justin, Marika, Anna, Laura, and the rest of the team
P.S. Many occupations are gathering at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT to stand in solidarity with Occupy Oakland. To find an occupation near you and see if they'll be gathering, go to http://www.occupytogether.org/
1. "Occupy Oakland protests—live coverage," The Guardian, October 26, 2011
2. "Police tear gas Occupy Oakland protesters," San Francisco Chronicle, October 26, 2011
3. Occupy Oakland, accessed October 26, 2011
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