Police have moved into a camp set up by Occupy protesters in the Oakland plaza officially known as Frank Ogawa Plaza, but re-named Oscar Grant Plaza by the Occupy Oakland protestors.
In an early morning action coordinated by Alameda County police with Oakland City administration and Oakland Police Department, police cordoned off the Occupy Oakland encampment, arrested demonstrators at the interfaith tent and began dismantling and discarding the Occupy Oakland tents.
Huge Force Of Police Moved In, Dismantled Tents
From Oakland Local:
At 4:15 am, as roughly 300 people danced and chanted, a huge force of police from around the Bay area began moving into the Occupy Oakland camp at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. As protesters chanted “We are occupy, we are not gonna die/every time you kick us out, we are gonna multiply,” police from San Mateo, Burlingame, Oakland, Alameda, South San Francisco, Fremont, Richmond and San Leandro and other areas massed on the plaza, cordoning off a perimeter and preparing to enforce the Notice to Vacate issued last night.
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern was the architect of the plan to bring in area police for mutual aid during the enforcement, in partnership with Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana and Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan.
A similar raid ended with police in riot gear arresting 50 people in Portland, Oregon on Sunday evening.
Crime Scene? My Peaceful Experience Of Oscar Grant Plaza
Police declared the Oakland plaza a “crime scene” shortly after Monday morning’s arrests, a statement that baffles me. I spent a wonderful afternoon at Oscar Grant Plaza last week, and the level of organization and harmony within the camp was notable.
One resident was producing (for free) beautiful silk screen prints in black and red, commemorating Occupy Oakland. Nearby, a tall white board was divided into at least 30 sections, neatly delineating the times of activities and meetings throughout the week. At the temporary kitchen area, two women were preparing sandwiches (for free).
All was peaceful. Especially striking was the Interfaith tent, a small area lit by candles and dotted with cushions, where all were invited to step inside and meditate. And then there was the composting area, and request for gardening tools.
I have no idea how the plaza could be described as a “crime scene.”
But Occupy Oakland Will Continue
Hours before the raid, a legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan resigned, at 02:00 via Twitter, saying he supported Occupy Oakland. And even as officials blocked the streets around the camp, some demonstrators said they would return.
“I don’t see how they’re going to disperse us,” Ohad Meyer, an Oakland resident told the Associated Press. “There are thousands of people who are going to come back.”
Mayor Jean Quan and other officials reportedly toured the plaza with police after it had been cleared.
Mayor Jean Quan Under Criticism
Ms Quan has come under criticism for her handling of the last attempt to clear the protesters, in which a Iraqi war veteran was wounded.
Here are some excerpts from what she had to say after this morning’s pre-dawn raid, as reported by Oakland Local:
I’m very grateful that this morning’s effort went so smoothly and peacefully.
We’re here this morning because Occupy Oakland has taken on a different direction from the national movement. It was no longer about the abuses of the financial institutions, foreclosures and to the unemployed.
At the encampment we’ve had repeated violence, we’ve had a murder. I don’t want any more people to die before this comes to an end.
The encampment has been a tremendous drain on our city. During one of the recent demonstrations, we had 179 public safety calls for service that went unanswered because of the demonstrations downtown.
We’ve had increased drug dealing, sexual assaults, all of this was occurring in a one-square block encampment. This is not what Occupy Wall Street is about.
Having spoken with some of those “criminals” last week, at least I am happy to report that no one was injured this time around. And I’m pretty sure there will still be an Occupy Oakland, but in a different location.
This movement is not going away.
Photo Credit: Clay@SU