Occupy Oakland, the two-week-old tent city that sprawled across Frank Ogawa Plaza and Snow Park, was dismantled early this morning during a raid by hundreds of police from Oakland, with the help of other Bay Area law enforcement agencies brought in under mutual aid agreements from as far away as Vacaville. Police say at least 85 people were arrested at both encampments. City officials delivered an eviction notice to Occupy Oakland last week, listing a host of safety, sanitation, and public health concerns.
Sanitation workers and other city officials tipped off protesters to the imminent police raid, and around 2 AM a flurry of messages drew supporters and media alike to the camp. The occupiers used wooden pallets, bike racks, railing, dumpsters and string to build ad-hoc barricades around the 150 tents on the lawn in front of City Hall.
Around 4:45, several hundred officers from the Oakland Police Department and more than a dozen other Northern California law enforcement agencies descended on 14th Street and Broadway. As police read a dispersal order, the occupiers linked armed inside the barricades and chanted “We are the ninety-nine percent.”
Chaos erupted when OPD officers advanced on Ogawa Plaza, as some behind the barricades set off M-1000 and M-80 fireworks and hurled bottles and plates from the camp’s kitchen at police. In response, at least two canisters of tear gas were thrown by Oakland Police, catching other officers and reporters unaware.
Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan confirmed that at least one demonstrator was struck by a beanbag fired from a shotgun. Police say beanbags and tear gas were used against people who were hurling objects at officers. However, most arrests were carried out with little to no resistance by demonstrators.
“I’m very pleased with the way things went,” said Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan at a 9 AM press conference alongside City Administrator Deanna Santana and Interim Fire Chief Mark Hoffman. While the city will allow protests to take place at Ogawa Plaza from 6 AM to 10 PM daily, Jordan said Oakland authorities will not tolerate overnight camping.
Despite the number of people arrested during this morning’s raid, it does not appear to signal the end of Occupy Oakland. Around 9 AM this morning, an angry crowd faced off with Oakland and Berkeley Police at 14th and Broadway while morning commuters made their way to work through the chaos.
Demonstrators are convening at the Oakland Public Library on 14th and Madison Streets at 4 PM today. Arrests at occupations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco among other places have not diminished the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and it appears Oakland is no exception.
Ali Winston permalink
Ali Winston permalink
Oakland Police face off with the Occupy Oakland camp on October 25, 2011