OAKLAND, CALIF. (UPS) What began as an anti-draft teach in grew into issues of both anti-war and free speech and ended as 400 helmeted police, sheriff and California Highway Patrol officers using eye-stinging mace and swinging billy clubs broke up an anti draft demonstration along with some two dozen skulls in front of the Oakland Induction Center in the early dawn of Oct. 17. When the first of four groups of demonstrators arrived at the Oakland Induction Center early that Tuesday morning it was greeted by some 150 persons who had already gathered across the street.
Within 40 minutes after the first group of some 100 had arrived, the protestors strength had grown to well over 2,000.
The protestors immediately swarmed into the street and blocked traffic.
Then about 40 demonstrators blocked each of the three entrances to the induction center. To this point there had been no police interference.
The police riot lines began forming about one hour after the initial group of protestors had arrived. The first riot lines consisted of about 100 Oakland police officers.
At 6:10 a.m. the first police orders were issued, “Out of the streets or you will be moved out of the streets.” This order was greeted with a “Hell No!—Nobody goes,” response from the crowd. Thirty minutes later, the Oakland police were reinforced by some 200 sheriff’s officers and highway patrol men. The crowd by this time had also grown to about 4,000. Then Deputy Chief Brown issued a dispersal order for the first time.
The protestors didn’t move. The order was repeated two more times in the next seven minutes. Then hell broke loose.
The officers formed a wedge and began moving through the crowd. They seemed to pay attention only to those demonstrators who were in front of the induction center. They drove right into them. They didn’t waste time making arrests (a total of 19). They were using their billy clubs quite freely and they also used mace, the new liquid which comes out of an aerosol can.
Most of the people sitting down got the worst of it. Twenty-two of them had to be treated for injuries although many more than that were struck.
See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.