Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Oakland Dismantled

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OAKLAND (KRON) -- Oakland officials are urging Occupy Oakland protestors not to try to rebuild a tent city removed early Monday morning during a raid involving Oakland police and officers from around the Bay Area.

Unlike a similar attempt to remove the encampment in late October, this time police managed to remove dozens of tents without a violent confrontation with protestors.  That's because this time police set up a perimeter around the demonstrators in the streets while other officers moved onto Frank Ogawa Plaza to remove the tents.  32 people were arrested but there are no reports of injuries or violence.

At a mid-morning news conference, city officials asked the demonstrators not to camp out in the plaza.

"I'm asking you not to engage in destructive acts," Mayor Quan said.  "I'm asking you to respect what has now become an overwhelming sentiment in the city that you can divide the movement from the encampment, and that we start to work together on the issues that unite us and not divide us."

Interim police chief Howard Jordan says all but nine of the arrests involved people who don't live in Oakland.

"Our goal has always been to resolve these incidents peacefully and to allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights," Jordan said.  "You saw today how people can work together to resolve these issues."

Occupy Oakland members say they will reassemble Monday afternoon for a march and protest at the Oakland Public Library.  Officials say they welcome protests, just not camping.

"Our goal today is to clean-up the plaza so that we can hopefully open the streets by 6:00," city administrator Deanne Santana noted.  "I'm grateful to the public works staff who will undergo this tremendous effort to clean up all of the debris that is out there.  Going forward, the plaza will be open for demonstrations and peaceful assemblies.  It will absolutely not be open for lodging.  Anyone attempting to lodge will know that this will not be allowed and that their tents or lodging equipment will be removed.  The city remains committed to fascilitating peaceful expression and Oakland has a long history of it."

The decision to remove the encampment did draw fire both from protestors and some within city government.  The Mayor's legal advisor Dan Siegel says he resigned at 2:00 a.m. after failing to persuade Quan not to move forward with the crackdown.

Authorities had mobilized law officers from around the Bay Area in anticipation of potential violence.  Sheriff's deputies from Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counites joined police from Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, and Fremont, Jordan said.

Stay tuned to KRON 4 and for the latest on the Occupy movement in Oakland and around the country.

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