Another confrontation with police seems almost inevitable tonight in Oakland. A "Go Pitt! Fuck the Police!" rally against brutality is scheduled for tonight at 10 p.m. in Schenley Plaza. A rally last night -- scheduled for the same time and location -- resulted in more than 100 arrests, including that of a perfectly pleasant Post-Gazette reporter.
For the time being, I'm just trying to wrap my head around the concept of a "Go Pitt! Fuck the Police!" rally. Which seems to be about identifying with authoritarian institutions while simultaneously defying them. Is some sort of alliance between anarchists and fratboys in the making?
ADDED: Anyway, here's the press release from rally organizers:
Police Brutally Attack Oakland Students and Residents
For the past two nights, Oakland has remained in a state of siege. Pittsburghers gathering to protest police brutality last night, along with the crowd of spectators they attracted, were greeted once more by uncontrolled police violence. As the smoke clears and locals prepare for another night of protest, many questions remain as to how police violence was allowed to go on unchecked and what the University of Pittsburgh will do to protect its students.
Numbers continue to pour in as the aftermath from the past two nights is tallied. According to legal observers, between 60 and 70 were arrested Thursday night; 110 more were arrested Friday. Many of those detained were students. Eight remain in jail from Thursday along with half of Friday's arrestees.
Says media spokesperson Jesse Ericson, "On Thursday night, police surrounded and attacked a dance party in Schenley Plaza. Last night, locals and students gathered again to demonstrate against the random violence and terror we saw the night before, only to see the situation become far worse. The police force has gone off the deep end. After their failure to contain and control groups who successfully held the streets for hours on Thursday, the police are retaliating on young people who are unprepared and unequipped to deal with police brutality. Last night we saw open war on anyone unlucky enough to live in Oakland. After the dorms were locked down, many students had nowhere to disperse to, leaving them at the mercy of riot cops with batons, gas and rubber bullets".
Individual reports of indiscriminate violence are coming in from the hundreds on scene last night. Says Noah Williams, "I was on Forbes Avenue when I saw a young college student coming around the corner with blood all over his face. He'd been shot with a rubber bullet about one inch beneath his eye. A little farther up and he'd be dead now. He was just walking by Towers". Video of this incident can be found at http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-333876, but it was by no means the only one. Tear gas and pepper spray were used heavily on the campus area between Fifth and Forbes. Rubber bullets were shot arbitrarily into trapped crowds. In one of last night's most disturbing events, police assembled with an arrested student and posed for a photo after forcing him to his knees. Footage is available at http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-333880. As one police officer declared, "This is almost like marshal law" (http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-333897).
In response to continued physical and legal repression, locals and students will once again convene at Schenley Plaza tonight at 10:00 pm to speak out against police brutality.
ALSO ADDED: Pitt has sent out an automated warning message to university members signed up for its alert system. The message says:
"Saturday night disturbance possible at Schenley Plaza. Please use good judgment and be careful."
I love Mel Packer!