Video footage shows white, police-hating protesters disrupting black families mourning their dead at a police-sponsored “Stand up for a Safe Oakland” rally in Oakland, California on Saturday. According to the clips, the mourners were infuriated at being infiltrated by radical outsiders.
Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong organized the “Stand up for a Safe Oakland” rally in response to Oakland’s surging crime, because he and his community “cannot sit silent anymore.” During the rally, Oakland residents gathered at Lake Merritt’s Amphitheater to mourn lost community members, as well as to demand an end to the city’s rising violence.
Rather than join Armstrong’s rally, the “Anti-Police Terror Project” held a separate event with community groups on Saturday (though the group claims it made its plans prior to learning of Armstrong’s).
Meanwhile, protesters simultaneously disrupted the event organized by Armstrong. Lee Fang and AntifaWatch say these protesters were members of Antifa, though a spokesman for the Oakland Police Department was unable to confirm whether this was the case or not.
“Surreal moment in Oakland. About 200 mostly black families rally with police to call for an end to the epidemic of gun violence. Mothers at the stage mourning recently murdered children. In the back, less than a dozen mostly white antifa protesters assembled to jeer them,” Investigative journalist at the Intercept, Lee Fang, tweeted.
Surreal moment in Oakland. About 200 mostly black families rally with police to call for an end to the epidemic of gun violence. Mothers at the stage mourning recently murdered children. In the back, less than a dozen mostly white antifa protesters assembled to jeer them. pic.twitter.com/uuE9Sohhkm
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) July 10, 2021
That's Abner Hauge, he was w/ the Antifa counterprotest at Wi Spa just last week
He pretty clearly identifies himself as Antifa and has been presented in RollingStone puff pieces as an Antifa 'researcher'
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) July 11, 2021
AntifaWatch reported that “Several #Antifa, who appear to be all white, showed up to ‘protest’ by drowning out mostly black speakers who were naming and remembering homicide victims.”
In #Oakland today there was a "Stand up for a Safe Oakland" rally against gun violence
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) July 10, 2021
The protesters held signs with messages like “F-ck OCP” and “Quit your job, kkkop!,” as they shouted with local community members who were gathered to mourn their lost neighbors.
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) July 10, 2021
“A white privilege is standing here! You think you have a right to be here — you don’t have a right to be here!” an Oakland resident shouted at the protesters. “Not when black children are dying in the street everyday!” a second woman agreed.
Supporters of the event vehemently pushed back against the protesters’ suggestions that police are the villains. The mourners didn’t want to condemn police officers. They wanted to promote law and order.
“We’re talking about right now. What do you have against safety in Oakland? What do you have against stopping the violence?” a mourning Oakland resident asked the protesters.
“Why are you trying to disrupt something that’s trying to be positive? […] We’re trying to save our people!” the same Oakland resident continued. “We’re trying to save our people!” he repeated. “You are not our people! Get the f-ck out!”
"Black children are dying in the street every day."
ANTIFA: "Yeah, at the hands of the police."
"That's a lie. There are not hundreds of people dead at the hands of police this year."
"We're trying to save our people. You are not our people. Get the f*ck out!" https://t.co/bXFgq3sRPf
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) July 12, 2021
Armstrong’s event came as crime in Oakland continues to surge. Armstrong himself recently reported that his city is experiencing an approximately 90 percent increase in murders, 70 percent increase in shootings, and 88 percent increase in carjackings.
His goal in facilitating the event was to inspire a multi-pronged approach to fighting crime. Attendees marched from the amphitheater to the location where eight individuals were shot on Juneteenth. And the event included a coffin display with 71 white flowers, representative of the 71 members of the Oakland community who have been murdered in Oakland so far this year. Most of the attendees also wore white t-shirts with the phrase “#SAFEOAKLAND.”
“We continue to see shootings every night in the city,” Armstrong said. “It is time we come together and we unite behind reducing gun violence in the city of Oakland.”
“There are people in our community who don’t feel safe. There are seniors in our community who cannot come out at night. There are young, African-American men and Latino men that are at risk in our city. We have to come together; this is not about politics, this is about saving lives,” Armstrong continued.
Armstrong recently made headlines when he slammed Oakland’s City Council for defunding the police department by nearly $18 million. Since money has been diverted from the police budget to “social services aimed at violence prevention,” he says the community needs to become more actively involved in crime reduction.
Oakland resident Carol Wyatt agreed, saying her city “cannot move past the burials, the memorials and the wakes.” “Gun violence is our community’s longtime pandemic,” she lamented.
“We need your help — we need everyone’s help — because we want this to be the safest Oakland that we can possibly make it,” Brenda Grisham said. Her 17-year-old son was shot and murdered in Oakland in 2010. Grisham says “It’s on all of us to build a safer city.”