Monday, 14 November 2011

Police arrest Occupy Oakland campers

Oakland police have arrested about 25 protesters at the sprawling Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall while hundreds of law-enforcement officers square off against demonstrators downtown in the second such raid of the tent city.
Law-enforcement officers from numerous Bay Area agencies began arriving in force at 5 a.m. as a police helicopter flew overhead. Clad in armor and riot helmets, they stood in lines and surrounded the camp near the corner of 14th Street and Broadway adjacent to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where dozens of demonstrators have been camping to protest economic inequity and corporate greed.
About 6 a.m., police began arresting protesters at an "interfaith tent" on the plaza, 40 minutes after police issued an order to disperse. They sang "We Shall Overcome" as they were handcuffed.
By 6:45 a.m., police reported that they had made 25 arrests at the camp itself and had removed all the tents.
One protester, Zachary Running Wolf, remained perched on a wooden pallet in a tree on a sidewalk on 14th Street.
The bulk of the protesters were outside the camp, milling about at 14th and Broadway, where some danced a few feet from police while others marched in a circle. Officers set up barricades on the street.
Shon Kae, 30, of San Francisco said protesters have separated themselves into two group, one to defend the tent city, the other to protest as police move in.
Although the camp has dwindled in recent days from about 150 tents to 60 or 70, some protesters have defied repeated orders by Oakland police to leave.
Boots Riley, a longtime protester at the camp, said, "Whatever they do, they're going to just make us keep going. They're in a lose-lose situation. The camp is not going to go away."
Others, like Andre Little, 38, an artist, said he would go to another city park tonight "but I'll come back."
Luke Glassy, 19, said he would be in the camp when police arrive. "I'm going to jail tonight. With pleasure," he said.
Paul Bloom, 64, of San Francisco also said he was prepared to be arrested.
"It's sad that the forces that be don't know this is such a powerful movement," Bloom said. "The movement will continue and will return." He was later arrested.
Rodrigo Gomez, 19, and Sage Conary, 19, have barricaded their tent with a couch and chairs.
But Ronald "Rasta" Jones had already abandoned his tent this morning. "We're going to make the job easy for them. I can't go to jail," Jones said, adding however, "If they take over the camp, we're going to reoccupy. Our objective is for them to keep spending money. We are not going to stop."
BART has shut down the 12th Street City Center Station. No trains will stop at the station, the transit agency said.
Oakland city officials who work at City Hall and nearby buildings have been told to delay their arrival until 10 a.m.
Officers this morning came from throughout the Bay Area, including deputies from Alameda County, San Francisco police and officers from along the Peninsula and the South Bay, including Burlingame, Foster City, Broadmoor, Daly City, Pacifica and Sunnyvale police. San Jose officers and Santa Clara sheriff's deputies were among those in the plaza.
The tent city was the subject of a previous police raid at 5 a.m. Oct. 25. Mayor Jean Quan approved the raid but allowed protesters to rebuild. A peaceful march to the Port of Oakland on Nov. 2 devolved into rioting and the setting of fires later that evening just blocks from the camp, which first sprang up on Oct. 10.
On Sunday, officials issued their third eviction notice to the campers, who mostly ignored it.
In a statement Sunday, Quan said, "Camping is a tactic. It is one that has divided Oakland, a city of the 99 percent. It's time to work together on the issues of unemployment, foreclosures and education cuts. While the camping must end, the movement continues."
Today's police action prompted Quan's legal advisor, Dan Siegel, to resign his position. He said the city should have worked harder to work with the campers.
Siegel said, "The city sent police to evict this camp, arrest people and potentially hurt them. Obviously, we're not on the same page. It's an amazing show of force to move tents from a public place."
City officials also broadened the crackdown to three other parks where protesters have erected smaller, satellite camps: Snow Park, Jefferson Park and Lafayette Square, all in the greater downtown area.
Drug use and violence have increased at the camps, leaving downtown workers intimidated and business owners crippled economically, city officials said. On Thursday, a young man was shot and killed ust outside the main camp after a fight.
Police on Sunday identified the victim as Kayode Ola Foster, 25, of Oakland and said his family indicated he had recently been staying at the Occupy camp. No arrests have been made, but police said the suspect was also a "frequent resident" of the tent city.

by Justin Berton, Matthai Kuruvila and Henry K. Lee taken from

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