Fil-Ams say annual police training adds to militarization of law enforcement
OAKLAND, Calif. – Over a hundred demonstrators took over an intersection in downtown Oakland in front of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office this past Friday to protest the law enforcement disaster training event.
For the past nine years “Urban Shield” draws police and first responders from around the world to this expo and trade show.
Filipino-Americans were among other minority communities protesting “Urban Shield” calling it a means to further oppress them with military force.
“It’s really important for people to know that these strategies are being used to terrorize our communities and that really these kind of trade shows glorify war and glorify militarization and they’re a big waste of tax dollars,” said Rhonda Ramiro of BAYAN USA.
“The police, the military, state violence and state repression is what we’re fighting against,” said Irma Bajar of GABRIELA USA.
According to a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the event serves as a way for police and first responders to effectively react to real-life scenarios from everything to attacks on school campuses to a possible terrorist incident at the upcoming Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium.
However these protesters say that military style weapons and training are not answers to maintaining peace and order.
Bajar says, “We’re seeking for accountability and for a whole new system that works and we’re believing in more people in the struggle, in movements to actually help lead that and we’re saying military police is not the answer to the needs to the safety of our communities.”
Ramiro adds, “We would like to see Urban Shield stopped. We were successful in kicking Urban Shield out of Oakland last year. We would like them to know that we don’t want Urban Shield in Alameda County.”
These protesters say the police and law enforcement agencies should do more to interact and integrate within communities so they better serve them and address their needs.