Oakland carries Khader Adnan to Occupy San Quentin 1Mar12 March 1, 2012

MONDOWEISS  -  28 February 2012

On Monday, February 20, 700 activists with Occupy Oakland descended upon San Quentin State Prison.  Palestinian and Arab activists organized a small contingency to focus on hunger striker Khader Adnan. Occupiers were surrounded by police as they held signs and distributed literature on Israeli administrative detention.

The demonstration’s main target, San Quentin, one of California’s largest adult prisons, was on lockdown: highway exits to the prison were closed, and the 4,055 prisoners inside the facility were forced to stay in their cells the entire day. Outside at the three-hour rally, Occupiers called for an end to the death penalty, life sentences, parole restrictions, and political prisoners. Occupy Oakland focused on Adnan’s case as part of its broader campaign against mass incarceration and police repression.

Zachariah Barghouti, Oakland Occupier and organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement commented on bringing Adnan into Occupy San Quentin:

I protested in support of our comrade Khader Adnan because he flipped my world upside down. Khader Adnan is willing to sacrifice his life, literally starve his ego, to make a future without Israeli prisons possible for all Palestinians. Khader Adnan embodied self-sacrifice, a concept mastered by the few, and taught me that, like history, resistance is my food, my fuel, and my body is a vehicle for change.

From Oakland to Palestine, occupation is a crime

Oakland is the first of the occupy movements to incorporate Palestine solidarity into its cross-movement building. The occupy political organizing in the Bay Area is fiercely anti-racist, and the Oakland community has long-standing experience with excessive force and illegal detention.  Currently, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) is under threat of a federal takeover after failing to make reforms a judge ordered following a misconduct scandal.  About ten years ago, a group of OPD officers known as the “rough riders” were charged with excessive force and planting drugs on black residents of blighted West Oakland.  The officers were acquitted and OPD failed to make any of the 53 reforms.  This impunity towards police and criminalization of Oakland residents is what connects this California community to the occupied Palestinian territories.

Moreover, a few weeks ago, Occupy Oakland endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the state of Israel, and there are plans to hold panel discussions on March 13 with Tristan Anderson and Scott Olson. In 2009 Anderson was critically injured from an Israeli tear gas canister and Olson sustained a severe head wound from a police crackdown last November, also from a tear gas canister.

When marching the one-mile back to where cars and buses were parked, protesters chanted for the freeing of all prisoners. And, in typical Occupy Oakland fashion, demonstrators also cheered, “the system has got to die, hella, hella occupy!”

The action was part of a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners,” with protest taking place in approximately a dozen U.S. cities.

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