Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Right to Peacefully Assemble for the Redress of Grievances

Here is a video that gives more "context" to the Occupy Oakland incident. It is fairly clear that the police were not threatened. Instead, you hear them reading the riot act to citizens peacefully assembled seeking a redress of grievances. Then all hell breaks loose...

Here is the specific event:

It is obvious that a government has the right to control crowds, but the legal and police authorities have to be lenient with crowds with a political grievance. Otherwise you turn a democracy into a police state where the only "right" you have is to ask "how high?" when the state tells you to "jump". That isn't freedom. That is tyranny.

The police have no right to use force in a situation where the crowd is peaceful. Even suiting up in full riot gear is provocative. It shouldn't be done. And you certainly shouldn't be carrying out "street clearing" actions under the cover of dark and a fusilade of grenades and tear gas. That is war, not policing.

Update 2011nov12: Here is an update from Veterans for Peace on the condition of Scott Olsen, the injured ex-Marine who served in Iraq and was shot by trigger-happy cops at the Occupy Oakland protests:
Adele Carpenter Updates VFP on Scott Olsen

Hi, all.

I had a chance to visit Scott this evening. He is very present, alert, and has a lot of energy. He is still struggling with speech, but is attempting conversations without having the writing instrument out. He also is doing an amazing job of staying patient with himself and didn't seem to get frustrated with himself or need to rush when trying to work out thoughts in speech. Personally, it was a huge relief to see him after last having seen him while he was sedated and in critical condition.

We did talk some business and I wanted to give an update on that.

Housing: His parents are coming tomorrow and they will be looking for a place in the South Bay near where he will be accessing outpatient treatment. He said he doesn't know if they need help looking and I agreed to call his mom tomorrow to check about how their settling here might go. He said that he and Keith will look for a place in Berkeley after his parents leave in November.

Visiting and Support: He said he doesn't want or need any formal plans for visitation, like making a schedule of folks to keep him company when he is out, and that informally scheduling visits has been fine and he will let people know if he needs something else. He doesn't have any big wishes or desires for when he gets out of the hospital. He already got to go out for Thai food, but other than that, he is just focused on getting better.

Legal: Scott is aware that allies have offered legal contacts trained in police accountability and veteran issues. I also told him that several lawyers have expressed urgency around his case and investigation being taken up. He said he is already taking care of this and that if he wants bios or contacts for those lawyers, he will let me know.

Media: Scott would like to shoot to put out a statement for Vet's day, but doesn't want to rush himself because he doesn't know how much energy its going to take when his parents arrive and also with transitioning out of inpatient over this week. If he does write something, he would like someone to look it over. I also assume he'd rely on us to disseminate any statement to press contacts. I really wanted to respect that he not push himself since there will be a lot going on the next few days. If he does write something or want help composing something, he knows that we are more than willing to line up support.

Hope that covers the business end. My overall impression was that he is both trying to take it easy, but is also able to start taking care of his affairs and knows that he can ask for support if he needs it. I'm really happy he's doing so well and seems both accepting and determined. All good news for today.

Civilian-Soldier Alliance

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