protester If you want to see how your favourite news source or local paper spins the news, find out how they reported (or didn’t report) yesterday’s protest in Oakland. What I read in the U.S. press didn’t make any sense to me, so I tried the international press. Here is what really happened: Ten protesters and seven longshoremen were hospitalized when unprovoked (per first-hand interviews with a city councillor and a school board officer interviewed at the scene) police fired wooden dowels, rubber bullets and tear gas at close range into a crowd that refused to move out of the way to let delivery vehicles pass to load munitions onto ships headed for Iraq. The impact can be seen in the picture at left. The longshoremen, not known for wimpiness, said they were ‘terrified’. But that’s not what most of the U.S. media reported, if they bothered to report the incident at all.
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  1. Chris says:

    According to MSNBC the protestors threw rocks and iron bolts at the police.

    Most of the 500 demonstrators at the port were dispersed peacefully, but police fired at two gates when protesters refused to move and police said some of them threw rocks and bolts. The longshoremen, pinned against a fence, were caught in the line of fire.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    The politicians present said only a handful of protesters threw rocks and other debris from the dockyard where the protest occurred, and this had ceased before the police opened fire. The police were in full riot gear with gas masks, and are accustomed to dealing with a few violent people in these events. They don’t have to, and usually don’t, use their weapons on the mass of the crowd. This was clearly done to facilitate movement of armaments, not for crowd control. The fact that MSNBC reported it the way they did is exactly my point.

  3. NW says:

    Is it right to stand in the way of supplies that are being shipped to U.S. military forces that are in the midst of a war? Whether you believe in the causes for the war or not it is treasonous to partake in activities of this nature. I heard an interview with one of the organizers for this protest discuss that it was about bringing troops home and that Bush is responsible for putting them in harms way. Is it logical that one who has concerns for others in harms way participates in events that further increase the potential for harm? Where is the logic? It is certainly not a possession of those protesting in Oakland.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    I don’t know how old you are, NW, but the rules for peaceful protest were pretty well hammered out by both sides during Vietnam. Civil disobedience is all about making it inconvenient and/or embarrassing for those with whom one disagrees, to do what they want to do. The consequence is annoying delays to one side and (if there is a free and objective press) publicity and the opportunity to express dissent for the other side. It works both ways; dissent and peaceful protest are equally available to both ends of the political spectrum. Dissent is not treason, however, and if you really believe this you need to study history and see what equating dissent with treason leads to. While the protesters have the right to peacefully obstruct, the police have the right to peacefully remove the protesters so the military can resume their deliveries. That’s the way the game is played, and has been for at least a century. It works, unless one side (the police in this case) breaks the rules.

  5. NW says:

    I agree that dissent is not treason; however, one must see that blocking shipment of military goods to those that are in harms way can be construed as an effort to aid and abet enemies of the U.S (i.e. The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort-Letric Law Library). In no way, in my previous post, do I advocate the use of violent means to remove the protesters, but I do call into question the ethics of their actions as it relates to the safety of Americans that are invovled in conflict abroad. To answer your first question I was born shortly after the Vietnam conflict; however, age should not really be a concern to some stating a view (it isn’t in the case of the protesters). I still pose the previous question to you: Is it logical that one who has concerns for others in harms way participates in events that further increase the potential for harm? I do appreciate your response and respect your opinion. Maybe calling their actions treasonous is harsh, but at the same time I think these protesters should rethink their actions and motivations. As always, I am glad to see your thoughts.

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