9:30pm, Saturday, January 7th, 2012
My prediction for tonight’s “fuck the police” march in Oakland: If people don’t engage in significant vandalism or attacks on cops, they cops will largely ignore the protest and let it spend itself. So far, they’ve let people take the streets and I think this will continue. I think they’ll even ignore minor property damage, like they ignored the bottles and rocks thrown at them. I think the cops will mostly try to avoid conflict tonight, even while many in the crowd are trying to provoke it.
The cops have generally shown that they have a better grasp of effective tactics than Occupy Oakland. They attack when they have the upper hand, exploiting us in weak positions, where we mostly play right into their hands. (See my posts here and here.) While the marchers tonight will never “win” over the OPD, arrests or tear gas right now would play into the confrontation that the protesters want. I think that the cops recognize this fact and will go out of their way to avoid it. There are also a few too many people to easily arrest or disperse them all.
If people do get excessively violent or destructive, I think the cops will go for focused arrests or kettling and group arrests, but will still try to avoid beating or gassing people.
So, let’s see how it goes. If you see this tonight, you can watch @OakFoSho’s livestream here http://bit.ly/yEyOFh It will also be archived on the site.
That’s my prediction. Who’s taking bets?
(Whatever happens, stay classy folks.)
Update: As of 10:30pm, I was partly right/partly wrong. They did go for focused arrests as opposed to arbitrary ones, but also beat numerous other people, threw people off bikes, shot one shot-bag weapon and kettled people for a while without arresting them. Now people are in the Plaza, with many cops in the area. We’ll see if they try to clear the plaza.
As I was watching this all go down on @OakFoSho’s livestream, it appeared to me that the cops were being the kind of stupid and unnecessarily violent that I expected they wouldn’t be. Right now, I’m hoping people will just call it a night and filter out of the plaza before the cops clear it out.