Urban Shield is a four-day event that brings together law enforcement agencies from around the world — including Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, Brazil, Guam, South Korea and Singapore. A two-day trade show featuring the latest in policing and surveillance technology is followed by two days of emergency-preparedness training exercises throughout the Bay Area. The event began in Oakland eight years ago and has expanded to Boston, Austin and Dallas. Local community organizations protested the event last year, citing the Oakland Police Department’s history of violence in the community.“Oakland is a city with a very long history of resisting police violence,” said Rachel Herzing, executive director of Critical Resistance, one of the organizations pressuring the city of Oakland to break off ties with Urban Shield. “People are offended when the city would bring these kinds of maneuvers and trade show to this city in particular.”After weeks of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the killing of teenager Michael Brown, the militarization of local law enforcement has become a national concern. Amid the chaos in Ferguson were images of police with armored vehicles, assault rifles and SWAT uniforms that resembled battle fatigues.
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