United Nations Report on the Oakland Port Protest

The police attack of April 7, 2003 is investigated by the U.N.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights Report, which was released Friday, April 2, 2004, consists of 169 pages of summary reports on human rights violations by the usual suspects such as Guatemala, Israel and Egypt. This year, a page and a half of the report were devoted to repressive actions against the antiwar movement in the United States. The Oakland Police Department received mention.

The report was submitted by Ms. Hini Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Below is the part which reviews the events of April 7, 2003 at the Port of Oakland. It is paragraph 476 on page 151, under the section titled "United States of America."


476. On November 2003, the Special Representative received information concerning the alleged injuries of Erik Shaw and Willow Rosenthal, members of Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), a network of anti-war organizations.

According to the information received, on 7 April 2003, the Oakland Police Department allegedly fired rubber bullets directly at a peaceful demonstrators reportedly protesting against corporate interests in the war against Iraq at the Port of Oakland, California. This alleged incident was the subject of a letter of allegation by the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on 10 September 2003. The police allegedly also used "wooden pellets", "sting ball grenades", "shot-filled bean bags" and tear gas against demonstrators, allegedly injuring around 40 of them. While the police reportedly claimed that demonstrators initially began throwing rocks, concrete and steel bolts at them, according to the information received by the Special Representative, the police opened fire without any violent provocation from the demonstrators and only 30 seconds after ordering demonstrators to disperse.

According to the information received, Willow Rosenthal was allegedly injured in the back of her calf. It is reported that she went to the emergency room of the Kaiser Hospital, Oakland, for treatment, where she reportedly also filed a complaint against the Oakland Police Department. She has allegedly received no copy of their omplaint, despite reportedly having requested one. She was later reportedly diagnosed with a blood clot and underwent surgery on 30 April 2003 and a skin graft on 5 May 2003. Erik Shaw was allegedly seriously injured on his right calf with a wooden pellet. Concern was expressed that excessive force may have been used against persons exercising their right to protest human rights concerns.

Paragraph 477 reports on the "surveillance of Erik Shaw during his functions as a liaison person between law enforcement agencies and protesters during demonstrations in San Ramon, California on 14 April 2003." Paragraph 478 reports on police repression during the February 15, 2003 antiwar march in New York City.

The last part of the United States section of the U.N. report, paragraph 479, is titled "Observations," and, it consists of just one line, which reads:

479. The Special Representative regrets the absence of a response from the Government to her communications.

The entire United Nations report can be found at: