The Oakland, Calif. City Council has reportedly approved a ban on common household tools and paints it deemd “tools of violence and vandalism” at public demonstrations. Concerns about the ban have been raised by local activists and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Oakland Tribune reported that the council voted 5-0 to approve the ban, which covers the mere possession of “impact-resistant shields, aerosol spray cans, pressurized paint sprayers, sling shots, hammers, large wrenches for opening fire hydrants, fireworks, paint projectiles or fire accelerants” at protests regardless of whether they are used or about to be used by protestors.
The item will be taken for final reading on Sept. 17, reports The Raw Story.
“I appreciate that the City Council wants to make demonstrations safe,” ACLU attorney Michael Risher told KGO-TV. “But they should look at both sides of the equation and realize that there are more protesters who are injured by the police during protests than there are officers who are injured by protesters.”
Risher also told KGO that the proposal is a more narrow version of one taken up by the council in 2012, which was discarded after vocal opposition by members of Occupy Oakland. However, council member Noel Gallo re-introduced it to the council following reports of violence in the city amid demonstrations against George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to The Raw Story.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the council also voted to accept a $2.2 million federal grant allowing for the construction of a surveillance building, the Domain Awareness Center, allowing local authorities to monitor the city and Port of Oakland 24 hours a day through a network of security cameras, gunshot detectors and license plate readers.
“The Domain Awareness Center is the guard tower which will watch over every person in the city of Oakland,” one resident, 20-year-old Mark Raymond, told the Chronicle. “This program is an attempt to criminalize and imprison all people who live and pass through Oakland.”