These are from Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 in San Leandro, CA. San Leandro is next to Oakland in the east bay area.
The background is that there's a little subset of the 2nd ammendment rights folks in California who are oddly focused on the ability to carry a gun openly. It's legal in California as long as you don't touch various other requirements - like the loaded gun law (1967, signed by Reagan) , or the school zone laws. Unfortunately by attracting attention to this the legislature stepped in and made this illegal for handguns as of Jan 1st, 2012. So this was an opportunity to openly carry a handgun in a carefully mapped out legal area for the last time and also to say "Ha! You forgot rifles and shotguns - we'll be carrying those next year!" (And presumably they'll be illegal the year after).
Interestingly enough their press release got a lot of media coverage because the local papers thinks this makes gun owners look nutty. Here's an example. So I thought there might be some decent turnout and some media there and it would be interesting to see what it looked like in person, and not the carefully crafted version you'll get in the news.
This is how the protest looked from the nearby big street. The people on the corner aren't associated with the protest. Basically nobody saw this thing who wasn't involved or media or watching whatever the media chooses to show.
This is the first time I've seen this - protester parking. Hardly anybody was parked there (I think even the protesters were avoiding it for the most part) and the people going to the 24 hour fitness next door were pretty pissed about the parking situation since there was a huge empty area they couldn't park in.
Private security was on hand and a couple of security guys were walking around. The local police had a few cars and quite a few officers on hand around the other side of the building (not pictured). This is a good idea for any protest - have officers handy in case it becomes more of a mob, but not so close that it sets anybody off. I'm sure the city spent quite a bit on overtime.
The media were interviewing people going into nearby businesses. I'll bet you that the clip they show will be somebody talking about the huge number of homicides in nearby Oakland (as if criminals do unloaded open carry). They're barely in sight of the actual protest since the protesters were on the other side of this "protester parking" buffer zone.
There wasn't massive media there but there were at least two news vans and a couple of smaller vehicles.
This is them - all the protesters in one frame. Maybe 20 people, some of them media.
Notice the rifles.
Notice the guy with two cameras. I'm not sure how many of these people were protesters versus media.
I love the guy glaring at me. You know you invited media, right?
A couple of people had relevant shirts but there were no signs. They really didn't seem to care about spreading their message so much as socializing. Which is fine, but they didn't need to send out press releases for that.
Meanwhile the media kept trying to interview any willing bystanders - mostly people trying to go into the gym who were in a rush. It was interesting to see how few people would talk to them. Many people they talked to probably had zero idea why they were even there, since you could barely see the protest at a distance and there was no indication what was up. I wonder what the media told them, so that they could respond to it, and be held up as a representative view from somebody on the scene?
Update: Here's the Chronicle's take on it. First time I've seen them have an article about any protest having low turnout (I've seen media show up to protests where a half dozen protesters showed up and the media just packs up and leaves), but sure enough they wanted to run a quote about how nutty these people are. KGO/ABC has their coverage here including video. Apparently they did eventually wander out to the actual street so a few people saw them - but again, no signs, so I'm sure nobody had any idea what the point was.
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