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Americans celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a surprise for Oakland's mayor

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Oakland's Mayor received a rude awakening this morning as activists on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On Monday January 19, 2015 – which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day across America – anti-racist activists showed up on mass to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s residence at 5:30 am.

The roughly 50 activists were there early to give the mayor a “people’s inauguration” on the special day. The crowd began arriving at 5:00 am with a litany of complaints directed at the newly elected mayor of Oakland, California, surrounding the growing concern of police violence towards people of colour both male and female.

In the Upper Diamond neighbourhood where the mayor and her family live, a brass band was there to serenade the waking mayor.

Others stood in a circle and chanted now-familiar chants like: “Hand’s Up, Don’t Shoot!” and “I can’t breathe.”

People made chalk outlines of themselves lying on the ground, mimicking police protocol for murder victims.

Another group held up large illuminated letters that spelled out “DREAM” in honour of the speech King made in Washington in 1963.

Quotes by King were also projected onto Schaaf’s garage door, one OF which read, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

All this was in appreciation -- the crowd sang Happy Birthday to honour King -- to the fallen civil rights leader who was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday April 4, 1968, at the age of 39.

Oakland has had a series of demonstrations against police brutality with a similar intensity to those of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations in 2010.

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