Some four hundred protesters outside the Marriott in downtown Oakland on Friday, September 5th listened as a protest organizer announced that the Word from the Mayor had come down: The City of Oakland no longer wanted Urban Shield and the Marriott Convention Center would not be hosting it next year; it would held "somewhere else" in the Bay Area in 2015.
That evening, one citizen-commenter tweeted
True to a point. But in addition Oakland's pols would still be cheering on police militarization if not for the death of Michael Brown, the horrific subsequent images from Ferguson and the nationwide disgust that resulted. Let's not forget that. It took the death of a young black man 1500 miles away, not the executions locally of Gary King, Oscar Grant, Raheim Brown, and Alan Blueford, the shot to the brain to Scott Olsen or the near-death beating of Kayvan Sabeghi to make any impression on City leaders.
It's a minor victory.
Urban Shield will still take place. The vendors will still sell their weapons of death and Rambo wanna-bes in police uniforms will still drool over them. And, as it stands, the Oakland Police Force will still be participating at Urban Shield 2015, in exercises designed to deal with "our high threat, high-density urban area."
These things will still happen, just out of sight and, as the memory of Ferguson fades, perhaps out of mind. Unless we keep working to shut it all down.
But it feels good nonetheless.
Images and impressions from Urban Shield, 2014:
#ProtestArt #Artivist #StopUrbanShield #Oakland #Marriott #HandsUpDontShoot
Note: Shane Bauer, who tweeted most of those pics, was one of three East Bay residents captured and imprisoned in Iran. He, along with Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were subjected to long-term solitary confinement before ultimately being released. He has reported from Pelican Bay, California's notorious solitary confinement center, and now, inside Urban Shield. Check out his video "Inside Urban Shield."