Scenes from the Nov. 5 Oscar Grant rally


By Rebecca Bowe and Alex Emslie

Photos by Ramsey El-Qare

This week's Guardian features an in-depth account of the Nov. 5 rally and march held in response to the news that former BART cop Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. With credit for time served and good behavior, Mehserle could be out in less than a year.

The rally lasted from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, where community members expressed outrage at the lenient sentence. All afternoon, people told stories about loved ones who'd been victims of police brutality, made art and gave potery readings and hip-hop performances, and chanted with fists in the air. Soon after the rally ended, about 200 protesters began marching down 14th Street toward the Fruitvale BART station, where Grant was shot. Some car windshields and the windows of an AC transit bus were smashed along the way. Police followed, and by the time the crowd made it to Sixth Avenue and East 18th Street, 152 protesters were barricaded in by police in riot gear and placed under arrest. The photos, taken by Ramsey El-Qare, tell the story of that afternoon and evening.