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Quan Meets With Encampment Members, Says ‘Consensus is Camp Must Move’; Councilmembers Shouted Down at Press Conference

| November 9, 2011
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Occupy Oakland protesters at a press conference near Lake Merritt

Occupy Oakland protesters shouted down city council members at a press conference near Lake Merritt today. Councilman Larry Reid can be seen on the left, wearing a black baseball capPhoto: Kelly Wilkinson/KQED

KQED News intern Vinnee Tong was at the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza today when Jean Quan showed up, along with Sharon Cornu, Deputy Mayor for Community & Governmental Relations. Quan said she was there to talk to people informally. Vinnee Tong did not see any police accompanying the pair.

About a dozen people from the encampment crowded around Quan and talked with her, Tong says. Quan said she wants the protests to continue minus the encampment.

One man, who said he was a medic by profession, told her “we need jobs, we need jobs.” Another man said he was upset about the police response to the protests and Quan told him the city is in the process of hiring an independent investigator.

Here’s one interesting exchange Quan had with a member of the Occupy Oakland encampment, caught on tape by Vinnee Tong. Listen to it here:

Audio: Jean Quan tells Occupy protester that “camp must be moved”

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The audible part of the exchange goes like this:

Quan: They’ve pretty much come on to the consensus that the camp must be moved at this point. That’s why I’m here.

Protester: So are you prepared to spend another million dollars to move us?

Quan: I’m prepared to talk. Eventually the community settlement is coming that the people need to move. Really, everywhere, from now-

Protester: Right, right. What if the consensus of the camp is not that we want to move?

Quan: I understand. Oakland’s the 99 percent, so are you going to listen to it? You have to think about it.

Protester: At the city council meeting, the vast, vast majority were in favor of the camp. It was an open meeting where everyone could attend, I watched every second of it…

Quan: Watch the press conference and then watch the other statements of the other people…

Meanwhile, KQED’s Kelly Wilkinson attended a scheduled press conference at Lake Merritt by Oakland councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Larry Reid, plus local business leaders.

The briefing, however, devolved into chaos when dozens of Occupy Oakland protesters shouted down Reid, chanting slogans and screaming.

Reporters interview City Council Member Larry Reid

Reporters interview City Council Member Larry Reid after Occupy Oakland protesters stopped a press conference today by chanting and shouting. Photo: Kelly Wilkinson/KQED

A few journalists then spoke to Reid and De La Fuente among the throng of shouting protesters. The councilmembers said they supported Occupy Oakland when it started but that it’s been derailed and is now bad for the city. They expressed frustration that nobody from the movement will come forward as a representative to talk with city officials, and they also expressed impatience with Mayor Quan, asserting she has not shown leadership and has allowed the situation to spiral out of control.

Protesters told Wilkinson that city officials are welcome to talk to protesters at the general assemblies they hold.

Some protesters also told Wilkinson that the press conference signals a second raid on the encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza is imminent.

When Wilkinson asked Reid if the city will move to evict the campers, Reid said “stay tuned.”

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