Frankly, this blogger’s not sure what the value of these Occupy Oakland protests are, except as yet another viral video opportunity for protestors armed with cameras, camcorders, and camcorder-equipped smartphones.
No, I wasn’t in on the action.
Why the hell would I want to stand near police, many of which represent the City Of Oakland – and just another ill-tempered man-handling away from Federal Government management – bent on throwing tear gas and, well, man-and-woman handling? Or, as I said, another viral video moment. Check this out:
And while citizen first-level video bloggers like YouTube’s Holseyd were playing media, the City of Oakland was in the business of erasing media – or threatening to. I received a warning from the City Of Oakland Emergency Public Information Officer that went like this:
Update from the City of Oakland on Occupy Oakland Activities – 3:30 pm
Oakland, CA – The area on Oak Street between 10th and 12th streets is declared an unlawful assembly area. The media are directed to vacate that area immediately.
A media staging area will be declared as soon as one is secured.
Now that message was sent via email, not Twitter. Email. So if you weren’t one of the “privileged” media on the City of Oakland’s list, you were SOL. What the City of Oakland did was irresponsible at best, and criminal at worst. Had the City issued a Twitter tweet, and had developed enough followers to make it count, the people who were on the streets acting as media, like YouTube’s Holseyd for example, would have seen it, retweeted it, and spread the word.
So now I wonder if any of the “19 protestors arrested” were really just media-types who don’t look like the traditional media the City Of Oakland is used to dealing with, and didn’t get the email?
And on the matter of what happened today, what media’s all about, here’s the City of Oakland’s official account from 4:30 PM PST:
Oakland, CA – By 12 pm, a crowd of approximately 250 had gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza for the Occupy rally. Just before 1:30 pm, the group started marching southbound on Broadway. As the group of approximately 450 marched, traffic disruptions occurred on downtown streets. At approximately 2:15 pm, some of the marchers entered the campus of Laney College.
At 2:30 pm, marchers began tearing down perimeter fences around the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. At approximately 2:50 pm, the first dispersal order was given as the crowd began destroying construction equipment and fencing.
Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares. Oakland Police Department deployed smoke and tear gas.
By 4 pm, the bulk of the Occupy crowd of approximately 500 has returned to Frank Ogawa Plaza.
As of this release, 19 protesters have been arrested. Most of the arrests were made on Oak Street when protesters ignored the dispersal order and assaulted officers. Three officers are confirmed to have been injured.
Mutual aid has been requested.
The City of Oakland welcomes peaceful forms of assembly and freedom of speech, but acts of violence, property destruction and overnight lodging will not be tolerated. The Oakland Police Department is also committed to facilitating peaceful forms of expression while protecting personal safety and property through ethical and constitutional policing.
The City has developed a variety of communication channels to keep the business community and the public informed of developments as they occur. This may include street closures or impacts to public transit.
That last paragraph is wrong, and I’m being polite. OK, it’s horseshit. The City of Oakland lacks the appropriate social media communications system to communicate to a social media savvy public. One day, and I hope I’m wrong, the City’s lack of interest in developing one is going to get someone killed.