[Ibogaine] a riot break out over it

Jeremy Spence jlspence at mac.com
Sun Jan 11 08:12:21 EST 2009


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  Jan 8, 2009 1:38 pm US/Pacific
Inside The Oakland Riot: A First-Hand Account
  Eye On Blogs: Post Your Comments, Reactions To Joe's Riot Account
Reporting
Joe VazquezOAKLAND (CBS 5) ―

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2nd Night Of Violent BART Protests In Oakland (1/9/2009)
BART Shooting Protest Turns Violent In Oakland(1/8/2009)
You've heard of a mob mentality. Well, I've just seen it in action.

Wednesday night's riot in Oakland developed quickly like a spark into  
a wildfire, and I was right in the middle of it.

It started with a peaceful demonstration at the Fruitvale BART  
station. Hundreds of demonstrators carried signs, shouted into  
megaphones and voiced their opinions.

Suddenly, a large segment of the crowd started walking off.

"Where are you going?" I shouted, and I got 10 different answers; all  
of them in downtown Oakland. Many just shrugged their shoulders and  
said they were just following.

About 6:15 p.m., the crowd arrived at the Lake Merritt BART station at  
800 Madison. They stopped and seemed confused, as if they were trying  
to understand why they were at a BART station and not BART headquarters.

Suddenly, a protester pointed at a police car. Someone started cursing  
at the officers who were standing behind it. The crowd surged. They  
rolled up a dumpster and set it on fire. It escalated. Someone else  
threw rocks; breaking the windshield. Traffic piled up and officers  
started shouting to the drivers, "Roll up your windows!"

The crowd surged several times. Once, CBS 5 photojournalist Patrick  
Sedillo was trampled. I was right behind him, and grabbed his coat  
before he hit the ground. We ran a short distance for cover.

About 3 dozen officers in riot gear and what appeared to be a SWAT  
armored personnel carrier lined up in formation. Officers fired tear  
gas into the crowd, and they quickly dispersed.

Protesters scrambled everywhere. They tried to regroup at Oakland  
Police Headquarters, but officers chased them off.

They reassembled at 14th and Broadway, near Oakland City Hall.

For the next hour, protesters gathered more and more strength;  
swelling to several hundred. Officers did the same, calling in more  
reinforcements in riot gear.

Demonstrators would occasionally disperse, but then instigators in the  
crowd who appeared to be anarchists called them back.

They wouldn't identify themselves, but those instigators wore bandanas  
on their faces and seemed more intent on provoking confrontations and  
throwing stuff at police than truly having their voices heard.

"Come stand with us," they implored. "Stand up for Oscar Grant!"

The crowd would then return. And they were getting bolder. Some  
protesters screamed just inches from the faces of officers. The cops  
stood still.

Others waved photos of Grant and called the officers "pigs" and  
"murderers." Other demonstrators lay face down with their arms behind  
their backs to demonstrate what Grant was doing when he was shot in  
the back by a BART police officer.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the Oakland Police gave the signal, and they  
slowly marched forward. Most protesters scattered; damaging cars and  
storefront windows on their way. They set trash cans and at least two  
cars on fire.

Glass started raining down. Bottles, trash – anything protesters  
could get their hands on – were flying at officers. They kept  
marching. Officers mechanically stomped over a woman's bike as they  
chased her off. Other protesters who stood their ground were hit with  
billy clubs.

Occasionally, officers would burst into the crowd to go after the  
folks throwing garbage at police. In a tactical maneuver reminiscent  
of my rugby days, the officers would send four officers sprinting into  
the crowd, tackle the suspected offender, then retreat with the  
arrestee back behind the formation.

Photojournalist Robert Moonan was nearly knocked over several times by  
these surging arrests, but managed to keep his feet and shot some  
amazing footage.

It was shocking to see, but the officers seemed to follow their  
training and were quite restrained, from my perspective.

To sum up the night, it was pandemonium that seemed uncontrolled,  
unplanned and unnecessary. Most of the protesters were not thrilled  
about having their peaceful demonstration thwarted by ugly behavior of  
a few. Seems to me most protesters were just mad. They followed  
blindly and got caught up in the moment.

The anger that spilled into the streets of Oakland was real. But the  
actions of the mob seemed surreal and, in the end, were  
counterproductive.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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