Occupied Oakland Destroyed but a New Camp Will Arise
I was looking forward to writing up my Friday visit to Occupied Oakland. But when I got to the office, I read some disturbing news: the Oakland police forcibly removed the encampment early this morning.
Using tear gas and beanbag rounds, 500 cops in riot gear cleared the camp in the early hours of the morning.
The open air kitchen, small garden, library, first aid station, kids’ corner, bicycle-powered media tent, arts tent, and meditation tent—gone.
The police took over before the sun was up. “What was left looked like a hurricane-struck refugee camp,” noted local reporters of the Oakland Tribune.
When I was there on Friday, October 21, I was impressed by what I saw. There were 187 tents up, and around 400 people living in a small park in front of Oakland’s city hall. A massive outdoor kitchen provided free meals to people, and there were a few portable toilets donated by two local unions.
But there was a palpable tension in the air. That day, city officials issued a letter saying the encampment was “a violation of the law” and threatening the campers with immediate arrest. Rumors swirled around the camp that the police would be coming at 3 p.m.
I saw a small group meeting in the nearby amphitheater, and they were trying to figure out how to squash the rumors. The police were not going to come that afternoon, though there was going to be a wedding at that time. The great-nephew of Cesar Chavez was to be married on the steps of city hall.
Initial reports say police arrested at least ninety people in this morning’s raid at the park, which was renamed Oscar Grant plaza. Nearly 2500 people have been arrested at Occupy protests nationwide.
Activists in Oakland will be meeting at the public library later today and I’m guessing they will be making plans for more occupations.
For ongoing coverage of Oakland, follow @MrDaveyD.
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