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Oaktown Gears Up for New Year’s With March, Vigil

| December 30, 2013
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Protest during the sentencing of BART officer Johannes Mehserle for the death of Oscar Grant in November, 2010.(Keoki Seu/Flickr)

Protest during the sentencing of BART officer Johannes Mehserle for the death of Oscar Grant, in November, 2010.(Keoki Seu/Flickr)

Oakland will mark the new year with a march tonight, and a vigil tomorrow.

The march, say organizers, is from 9:30 to 11 p.m. and is “in solidarity with prisoners and prison rebels across the globe. In honor of fallen comrades. Against prison society. In the spirit of total liberation.” Participants are urged to “bring friends, noisemakers, fireworks.” Marchers will gather at Frank Ogawa Plaza, Broadway and 14th streets, and walk to Glenn Dyer jail on Sixth Street downtown.

Wednesday’s vigil from noon till 4 p.m. honors the fifth anniversary of Oscar Grant’s death. Grant was shot and killed at the Fruitvale BART station by BART officer Johannes Mehserle. The vigil takes place at the Fruitvale station at 3401 East 12th Street. Organizers are asking that “all Families of a loved one killed by Gun Violence, Please bring an 8×10 photo and a Loved one favorite color balloon to be released.”

Ryan Coogler, acclaimed director of “Fruitvale Station,” a movie about Grant in the day leading up to his death, will be among the guests, say organizers. The event features live music and performance.

Oakland city officials are alerting residents about both events, saying in their notice, “We provide this information to raise awareness about these events, not to alarm, so that you may plan ahead.” Traffic in the downtown area is expected to be difficult because of the march.

In addition, officials say:

Keeping peace on our streets and protecting the safety of Oakland residents and businesses is our top priority. Although we don’t anticipate problems to occur, in the event that the demonstrations become unlawful, the Oakland Police Department is prepared to swiftly address any criminal behavior that would damage property or jeopardize the safety of the public or police officers.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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