Trapped in Demo by Cops on Telegraph Ave.

by Steed Dropout
August 18, 2014


Somehow, a visiting Oakland demonstration blocked by a wall of cops on Telegraph Avenue Friday, managed to re-group in downtown Berkeley, although surrounded and seemingly out-numbered by police from four departments.

Protesters numbered no more than fifty when they re-grouped downtown.

From Shattuck, Avenue where Berkeley Reporter caught up to them, the demonstrators straggled up Haste Street to Telegraph for a celebration and pep rally to protest the killing by a cop in Ferguson, Mo of an unarmed 18-year-old black male.

Protesters chanted, “hands up, don’t shoot, and fuck the police…we are the 99 percent,” while giving the finger and the bras d’honneur in the direction of crawling police cars behind them.

Demo Motto. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A demonstrator said that she’d heard on the cop radio that police intended to shoot them with rubber bullets on Bancroft. “That’s why they want to stop us there,” she said.

Hands Up; Don't Shoot! Photo by Ted Friedman.

As predicted, demonstrators were blocked at Bancroft; demonstrators were trapped in a one-fourth block cop-cordon near Bancroft Way and Telegraph. Thirty demonstrators couldn’t advance North and were choked-off, South. “Are we being arrested?” a man screamed at a line of cops in riot gear. We have the constitutional right to know.”

Cops block Bancroft. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Flying its corporate colors–Yellow–Berkeley Reporter tried to get out, fearing tear-gas, rubber bullets, and/or arrest. He approached an officer in the cop phalanx, whining, “I’m a press photographer and I need to leave.”

No Way Out. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Grabbing-up the reporter-photographer’s, sweater in a clenched fist, the officer jerked him left (“go there! he commanded), then right (“go there!), before pushing him back with his clenched fist hard-pressing the reporter’s chest. Later, a protester from the ’60s told the reporter the “go here/go there” routine was a tactic to build a resisting arrest charge.

Later the photographer was grateful for being detained where he “got some of my best shots,” he said. “I was foolish to approach that line. I won’t do that again,” he vowed.

Some Cal students, caught up in a police dragnet, pleaded with police to “let us go home. We were just passing by. We promise to not cause trouble.”

Some of the protesters used their detention to face-off with officers, huffing defiance and male indignation at being over-powered. One young man danced before the officers, swaggering, and making veiled threats. Four officers later rushed the kid, smothering him into a squad car in seconds.

Entertaining. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Another young man was pulled-off by his friends when he got too-close to a cop he was taunting.

Pulled-off. Photo by Ted Friedman.
I Won. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Twenty-five minutes later, police announced that protesters could leave, but had to walk West on Bancroft. Some protesters turned left, off Bancroft, through a tunnel-walkway leading to Durant and easy access to a return to Telegraph.

Police were out late enforcing the peace. They stayed on foot and in patrolling cars until early Saturday, at key Telegraph intersections, like Telegraph/Channing Way, near Cream, an ice-cream store with long late-night lines.

The protests in downtown Oakland earlier had not announced plans to march to Berkeley. The police have ways of finding out such things (Intel) and were ready for protesters with a blockade. Police officers in riot gear from Oakland, UC Berkeley, California Highway Patrol, and Berkeley participated.

In February, 2012 an Occupy Oakland-Occupy Cal mutual success celebration starting in downtown Oakland was met with seeming police indifference as it arrived in Berkeley; there were no police lines. There were no police.

Berkeley Police later said they had two stake-out cars on side-streets when the protesters arrived in Berkeley. The evening would have been a success (no violence) had not Peter M. Cukor, a Berkeley Chemical Engineer, been murdered in the Berkeley Hills. Berkeley police blamed its slow response on needing to “monitor” the march–from headquarters.

Berkeley Police reported property damage by demonstrators, Friday, as demonstrators arrived in Berkeley; two demonstrators were arrested for interfering with cops.

These views do not reflect those of publications in which my work appears.

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