Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Police arrest protesters, tear down Occupy Oakland tent city

Early Tuesday, the city began ousting protesters who have camped out for two weeks at the Occupy Oakland tent city on Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Police started assembling around the tent city at 14th Street and Broadway at about 3 a.m.
7:15 a.m. Snow Park camp closed
Police have shut down the Snow Park encampment at 19th and Harrison streets near Lake Merritt.
Officers made numerous arrests, taking protestors away in vans, without any apparent violence.
Several protestors ran around into the nearby streets upending trash cans and dumpsters, throwing trash into the streets.
The camp is now basically empty, with a few people standing around and the remainders of several tents lying haphazardly in the grass.
6:40 a.m. BART closes downtown station
The 12th Street BART station is closed because of the protests and police action and AC Transit is re-routing buses downtown.
6:15 a.m. Police descend on Snow Park camp
Dozens of police officers are moving into Snow Park near Lake Merritt. An officer is using a bullhorn to tell protesters to leave the small park. Police are ripping down the tents and protesters are yelling "go away, go away."
"Attention protesters at Snow Park, this is the Oakland Police Department, you are in violation of the law. You must comply with this announcement. It has been determined
that you are illegally lodging and are subject to arrest. To avoid arrest, you must gather all your belongings and vacate the park. You must comply with this announcement now." Protesters are yelling "police state, police state" and "rise up, rise up, against your masters." Police are forming a line to protect the people who have been arrested and put in police vehicles. Protesters claim they have the right to assemble and yell "shame, shame, shame, shame,"
5:30 a.m. Protesters cleared from plaza, tent city gone
On a side street off Broadway between 14th and 15th streets, a police line is keeping about 20 or 30 people out of the plaza as the protesters chant: "rise up, rise up, come on people rise up." Police said there were about 200 police from Oakland and other agencies involved in the raid. Police said a few protesters threw bottles at first, but then stopped.
A large group of police are mulling around the plaza. There are no more protesters in the plaza. All have been pushed out or left on their own. Three helicopters continue to circle above the scene. Clean up crews will be moving in soon and they have a lot off work ahead. The place is a complete mess with a couch is on its side and carpet and tents strewn everywhere.
5:20 a.m. City issues warning to downtown businesses
The city is advising employers to delay the arrival of employees downtown until further notice. Police have cleared the protesters from the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and are now starting the clean-up phase.
5:15 a.m. Tent city destroyed
Hundreds of police in riot gear continue to move into the camp and arrest people. Already dozens have been arrested and the camp destroyed. Most of the arrests seem relatively peaceful. Some have moved out on their own. There is massive amounts of destruction at the camp.
Police tore down tents and wooden stalls that had housed medical aid and food. Garbage cans are overturned. Some police have shotguns and all have clubs out. There is a small protest of about 50 people taking shape just off Broadway near 14th Street. People are banging drums and chanting "We are the 99 percent."
Media and TV crews everywhere. An officials with a bullhorn is issuing directive to campers. Police have now classified the area as a crime scene, but nothing violent has occurred. Looks like a hurricane has come through the camp. Entire raid was over in about 20 minutes. On the north end of the plaza, police have formed a line and are pushing about two dozen protesters into the street. Chaotic as the protesters yell at police. One protesters said "Police are the biggest gang in America."
5 a.m. Police move in
Police have donned gas masks and some kind of smoke has been released. There is a ring of police surrounding the plaza. In addition, police have blocked off the intersection of 14th and Broadway.
Police are dismantling the barricades and throwing them into the streets and also tearing down signs, ripping them up.
Protesters are sitting down, and police are now leading them away, handcuffed. Police in masks are moving into the camps.
4:50 a.m. Police surround camp
Police are now moving in from the street into the plaza, telling media to move. Police have set up security corridor, placing media behind them. Police are telling the protesters via bullhorn that "chemical agents" will be used and are repeating that they are illegally camped.
Using a bullhorn, police are announcing their intention to remove anyone from the plaza, repeating instructions over and over again. Taking out billy clubs, they are starting to move in. So far, police have not entered the actual encampment. A lot of television truck are parked nearby and media are assembling as well.
4:40 a.m. Police arrive
Several police cars have arrived. The protesters are running around, throwing things at the police. Riot police with batons full riot gear have assembled on the corner of 14th and Broadway.
Police are lined up from 14th to 15th, at least 100 riot police. Protesters are chanting "Police go home, cops go home " and banging sticks on anything they can find.
A helicopter is hovering over the plaza, shining a spotlight down on the camp.
Homeless people are leaving the camp, trying to get out.
Activists with Occupy Oakland report that police appear to be moving in early Tuesday morning near the encampment on the lawn outside of Oakland City Hall.
Police have been seen walking the perimeter of the camp, but have not gone in as of 3:30 a.m., according to the group, which has occupied a tent city for two weeks.
At the side of the camp near 14th Street and Broadway, people have put up at least two metal Dumpsters to block the area and wooden crates have been placed near the Clay Street side of the camp in an attempt to keep police out. In addition, people are covering their faces with bandannas and one made is carrying a giant shield he fashioned out of duct tape.
At about 3 a.m., the Occupy Oakland camp leaders sent out a text message, citing "heavy" police presence and then sent out another alert to supporters: "Get here immediately. Lines of riot cops marking toward camp."
More than 300 people have been camping in Oakland to support the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started on Sept. 17 in New York City to protest widespread unemployment and corporate greed.
The loose-knit group occupied the plaza two weeks ago to protest widespread unemployment and corporate greed, but the encampment has grown to encompass many other causes: support for state prison inmates who are on hunger strikes, housing rights, fair wages and against social oppression.
City officials began stepping up pressure on the protesters last week and on Friday upped the stakes by issuing a letter stating that the encampment on Frank H. Ogawa Plaza was "a violation of the law" and threatening violators with immediate arrest.
The "notice of violations and demand to cease violations" came a day after a preliminary letter that urged the residents to vacate the camp because of what the city said were a host of problems, including fighting, vandalism, public urination and other sanitation and public health issues. Officials said an existing rat problem in the area was being made worse by the encampment, which had about 100 tents at one point.
A spokeswoman for the mayor, Karen Boyd, said Friday that the protesters had shown themselves incapable of self-governance. "As a collective, they cannot maintain the plaza in a safe condition," she said.

By Scott Johnson and Kristin J. Bender taken from http://www.insidebayarea.com/top-stories/ci_19188125

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