Oakland Police Fire Rubber Bullets At War Protesters
[This is] believed to be the first use of the projectiles against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began.Police justified their actions by saying they gave a final dispersing order. That is debated by some of those present at the protest.
Several people suffered minor injuries and demonstrators complained that police overreacted because protesters had simply blocked access to a firm they claimed was profiting from the war in Iraq when police shot rubber bullets and wooden pellets into the crowd.
One man lifted up his shirt to show a welt about the size of a baseball, and several were hit as they were moving from the scene, as evidenced by large bruises on their backs."I have been to many protests over the years, and I have never seen police resort to shooting people because they didn't like where they were standing," said Scott Fleming, 29, a lawyer hit several times in the back. "They had loaded guns and started charging."
Susan Quinlan was hit with pellets twice in the back. "I never heard any warning to disperse. They pursued us and shot us as we walked away," she said.Some other comments:
"This was not professional, to say the least," said Joel Tena, a constituent liaison for Oakland's vice mayor. "I was afraid for the safety of the protesters and concerned that a nonviolent protest had turned violent at the hands of police." Leone Reinbold, a spokeswoman for Direct Action to Stop the War which organized the protest, said she saw a policeman run his motorcycle into one woman and another man get hit with a rubber bullet to the nose.Update: Here's a photo of a woman who was struck in the face by a police projectile. Not a pretty sight.
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