With the tragic death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Santa Rosa sheriff deputies, fresh on our minds, many in the Bay Area are upset and beyond anxious about this weekends Urban Shield gathering.. For those who are unaware, The Department of Homeland Security, SWAT teams from all over the state and country and other Law Enforcement outfits will be descending upon Oakland to host a weapons show and hold an urban war game competition..
The conference and events surrounding it are sponsored by weapons manufacturers with very little money going back to the community where some of these exercises will take place. In fact Oakland City Council members were unaware this was taking place, while officials in surrounding more affluent cities have been pushing this left and right..
Here’s a brief break down of Urban Shield as more than 30 different organizations have banded together to push back. There are local newspaper articles talking about how the police are bracing for protests. Organizers noted that the Bay Area was chosen because of its high level of aggressive protests and dense population.
This year’s Urban Shield activities are kicking off on the second anniversary of Occupy Oakland when Iraq War vet Scott Olson was shot by police a protest..Some law enforcement folks note that it was training received at Urban Sheild that prepared police for Occupy protests. If that’s not enough in addition to all the SWAT teams and weapons manufacturers, former police Chief Bill Bratton and now consultant to OPD will be here as well. Here’s a brief rundown of whats happening courtesy of Facing Urban Shield
There will be huge protests throughout the day in front of Oakland Marriot which is blocks away from Occupy Oakland‘s old site.. We give you the full run down with local activist in our Hard Knock Radio interview which is linked below..
What is Urban Shield?
From October 25th-28th, 2013 in Oakland, California, Urban Shield — a trade show and training exercise for SWAT teams and police agencies — will bring local, national and international law enforcement agencies together with “defense industry contractors” to provide training and introduce new weapons to police and security companies.
We know what this really means: more police and state repression, more tragedy and more death – since these weapons are used primarily against our communities. Over 30 local Oakland groups have formed an action network to express our opposition to the militarization of police and corporate complicity in it.
It Doesn’t Work
Urban Shield arises out of the incorrect assumption that suppression methods, such as the Wars on Drugs and Terror, as well as profiling tactics such as gang injunctions reduce violence in our communities. In fact, the opposite is true. The militarization of police and increased use of suppression tactics in schools, prisons, at the border, in our streets and against our youth are counterproductive to community well-being. Spending billions of dollars to militarize police agencies is deeply misguided.
We Need Alternatives to Policing
Instead of pouring resources into the militarization of police, we need to promote a culture of peace and health, and not one of more violence, war, poverty and incarceration. That is why over 20 groups in the Bay Area oppose Urban Shield and seek to hold our local government accountable for the massive waste of resources on policies and practices that do nothing to sustain our dreams or wellbeing. We want to send a clear message to repression profiteers and police that they must be directly accountable to the communities they now patrol. Instead of militarization, invest in life.