A scene from Occupy Oakland, captured by the San Francisco Examiner.
In a blog entry yesterday, I reported news out of Oakland that a RLSH named The Ray was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray is a member of the Pacific Protectorate (North Cali Division) and the news was reported via phone by The Ray's team leader, Motor-Mouth. Motor-Mouth says the Protectorate has been doing security at the protests. Another Bay Area team, the California Initiative, has also been monitoring the protests and posted this statement on the arrest of The Ray:
The CAI (California Initiative) was mentioned in Tea Krulos' recent Heroes in the Night blog entry.
We do NOT endorse the use of body armor, shields, masks or anything other than everyday street clothing while providing support at Occupy.
The CAI has spoken with heads of security at Occupy Oakland (OO), and they do not, nor have they ever asked any RLSH (or anyone, for that matter) to "gear up" for security. Further, they do not advise anyone to label themselves as "security."
We echo Occupy Oakland's stance: We don't advise anyone to come between the police and protestors that are being arrested. We are peacekeeping and do our best to teach de-escalation tactics. We believe in non-violence, especially where police are involved. We are there to provide first-aid and a helping hand in the camps.
There are other groups in northern California that will be attending Occupy Oakland and SF, as well. The viewpoints of these group do not reflect those of the California Initiative or those of the Occupy movement as a whole.
We wish The Ray a speedy recovery and are sending him our best.
In addition, CAI founding member Rock N Roll offered this advice for RLSH (or X-ALTs, an alternate term) attending Occupy protests (and I would guess particularly ones where tensions have escalated like in Oakland):
Let me preface this by saying that I give the majority of you the benefit of the doubt; that I believe your hearts are in the right places and that you aspire to make the world a better place.
It's with this in mind that I implore you - If you are heading out to your local Occupy, remember these things:
Masks (other than vinegar-soaked bandanas) are foolish. You are making yourself a target for the police. If you're that worried about people finding out your identity, wear a bandana. If you need protection, wear a bike helmet. There are thousands of other people out there who aren't drawing attention to themselves or protecting their heads, yet they've endured weeks of living there.
If you bring any type of apparatus that looks like you're preparing for a battle, the police will give you one.
If you think you can insinuate yourself between the protestors and the police, you'll most likely wake up in the hospital or in jail. Your greatest tool is a voice of reason, a cool, clear head, and a recording device.
If you are there for any reason other than to support the movement by providing assistance to the injured, or helping de-escalate any in-camp altercations, you're in this for the wrong reason.
The best you can do for the Occupy movement is to supply food, water, an extra set of hands, eyes and a calming presence in the face of possible violence.
If you're there because you need more press, or recognition, or you're itching to take someone down, for f's sake, go as yourself and DO NOT go as a representative of this community. This is not about you.