Oakland, CA (TFC) – The night of May 23rd, 2015 was an interesting one for residents and activists in the city of Oakland. Nearly 50 people were cited, arrested, or at least confronted by the Oakland Police after an ordinance passed by Mayor Libby Schaaf condemned peaceful protests after 10 PM. Say Her Name Protests started on May, 21st to bring awareness to female lives lost due to unnecessary police brutality. Some women are protesting in the streets topless with the names of young black female victims written on their bodies. There was a curfew implemented to extort the protesters, with the obvious intention of deterring people from protesting.
Below is video documentation of the events that unfolded Saturday evening the first night the curfew was to take effect:
At 4:50 into the video, the police line forces the people backwards in disturbing fashion. Two people were taken into custody for unlawful assembly, when they were lawfully assembled on the sidewalk. While they were not exactly speaking kindly to police, the two that were arrested on a public sidewalk – one lady lost her candle in the process – did not appear to violate any laws whatsoever. One of the protesters can be heard saying; “You all know we have cameras right? You just snatch people selectively whenever you feel like it?”
There was another member of alternative media present. His words were a little more demanding: “Where is Second Deputy chief Downing?” he yelled.
The words from the loudspeaker are clear:
If you remain present at an unlawful assembly under penal code section 409, you are subject to removal by force if necessary, regardless of your purpose. This means that even if you are a member of media, be it alternative or otherwise traveling to this town to report the story, you are subject to a misdemeanor charge to cover it. If you are a citizen trying to go downtown to patronize one of the many businesses in downtown Oakland. You move during an unlawful assembly, past the wrong police officer towards your destination? You are subject to a misdemeanor under CA Penal Code Section 409.
About 50 people were cited or arrested at the corner of Washington and 4th in downtown Oakland. The march originated at the Frank Ogawa Square at 14th and Broadway. Just after 8 PM, #SayHerName protesters marched down to just past the police station at 5th, where they sat in the streets at 4th in solidarity against the curfew.
This will be a growing trend across the country, as law enforcement seems bent on curtailing protesting and abolishing first amendment rights. Every single code for the penal system works for the revenue generation that every single individual pays into, and needs to survive in this incorporation. The police are going to use these penal codes against the citizens that speak up to silence them. Thankfully, there are those willing to incur the incarceration, and costs to fight for our freedom.