Occupy violence, vandalism are hurting our city


The General Strike on Nov. 2 devastated Oakland businesses and tarnished the city’s image.

For better or worse, the Occupy Oakland movement has put our city on the map.
The Occupy movement is a series of protests in the U.S. by members of the “99 percent,” who are demonstrating against the wealthy people, banks and big corporations — what they call the “one percent” — for unfairly holding most of the money and power in our country.

We, the Green & Gold, support the Occupy movement, but we are opposed to the violence brought on by infiltrators. The movement needs powerful leaders to advance its goals and keep the peace.

This movement has now become worldwide and has affected many communities. Thousands of students and activists have demonstrated at the University of California, Berkeley and other college campuses around the nation.

But many of these grassroots movements have been hurt by outsiders who have caused violence. For example, during Occupy Oakland’s general strike, only 32 of the 103 people who were arrested were Oakland residents, according to news reports.
The Occupy Oakland demonstrators are protesting to gain economic equality and stop corporate greed.

The Oakland police have tried to stop the movement by forcing people to leave the camp site. They escalated tensions when they began to use tear gas against the protesters, as authorized by Mayor Jean Quan.

An Iraq veteran, Scott Olsen, was injured when he was hit on his head during clashes with the police. Because he was the first to have a serious injury and because he had served our country in Iraq, this news went nationwide. Olsen stood up for himself, his country and social justice.

While Olsen has our sympathy, the protesters who took out their frustration on Oakland businesses do not.

Occupy Oakland activists vandalized a Whole Foods store during their general strike march. On the night of the first raid of the encampment, windows were broken at Bank of America, Whole Foods, Clorox and Wells Fargo.

As Oakland struggles with budget crises, Occupy protests have cost the city at least $2.4 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Many small businesses in Oakland have been hurt.

This is unfair. All that money could have been used for books, new technology, youth programs and keeping our city safe. If the Occupy movement is all about making things more equal, why are they taking money away from a community with so many underprivileged people?

The movement is supposed to better society, but whose voice is really being heard?
No one is taking the time to figure out how youth and the community feel about the situation. It seems as if the voice of the community is not being heard by anyone, including the police and the mayor.

The Green & Gold would like for the one percent to give back to the people who live under poverty. We would like people who live outside of Oakland to only protest here if they stay nonviolent. We would like big corporations to pay more taxes so money can go to schools and a better education system. The Occupy Oakland violence is affecting all of us in a major way.

The violence must stop.