You Are the Enemy
Update, April 8, 2003
"OAKLAND, Calif. -- Police opened fire with wooden
dowels, 'sting balls' and other nonlethal weapons at
anti-war protesters outside the Port of Oakland, injuring
at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen
"Most of the 500 demonstrators at the port were dispersed
peacefully Monday morning, but police opened fire at two
gates when protesters refused to move. The longshoremen
were caught in the line of fire."
This incident, which occurred the morning of April 7, is
flying mostly under the radar; there was a report on NPR
that evening, and the Associated Press carried a
sanitized version, published in the WASHINGTON POST, the
next day. The weapons used by the cops included plastic-
shelled "concussion" grenades thrown into the crowd as
well as nasty-looking cylinders of hardwood about two
inches in diameter and two inches long. Those lovely
things are fired from grenade launchers and leave huge
Oakland mayor Jerry Brown (remember him?) justified the
actions of the police by saying that some protestors had
thrown concrete and steel bolts at them. However, there
is no photographic evidence of this that I can find. The
videos of the incident show the protestors chanting and
shouting, and the police simply opening fire.
Photos of the weapons may be found at:
The little bean-bag thingies are filled with metal balls
and shot from shotguns. The wooden cylinders, by the way,
are not supposed to be fired directly at people, but
bounced off the ground. Note that they don't seem to be
marked by hitting the pavement.
There are also some photos of the victims. Note that most
of them have bruises on their backs, indicating that they
were running away when they were fired on:
One protester, a lawyer who works for the city, was shot
in the back four times, in what may be an exquisite
example of poetic justice.
A few notes here. First, Oakland is in the San Francisco
Bay area, a hotbed of left-wing radical activity, and
just down the road from Berkeley, home of some of the
weirdest politics in the whole country. Many of the
protesters seem to have been Commie wackos chanting about
revolution. However, a number of the people who were hit
were passersby or longshoreman waiting to go to work.
Also, Oakland police have a reputation for being more
thuggish than most. Quotes from longshoremen indicate
that the protestors did nothing aggressive towards the
cops to provoke retaliation.
Moral of the story? If you try to obstruct the war
machine, they're likely to shoot first and not bother
asking questions later. What remains to be seen is how
long it will take before our protectors start shooting
real bullets, as at Kent State -- or Sharpsville.
David T. Wright's original article "You Are the Enemy"
may be found at:
Updates are posted as events come to Mr. Wright's
Go to the Archive of Enemy Updates.
Copyright (c) 2003 by the Thornwalker.com
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