Police Raid Latest Occupy Encampment
Update Friday: Well that was quick. From Bay City News last night:
One protester was arrested and more than a dozen were cited for trespassing when police raided an Occupy Oakland camp in West Oakland this evening.
Police responded to the encampment, located at a lot in the 2000 block of Peralta Street in West Oakland, at around 5 p.m.
Police were informed this morning by a Peralta Street property owner that protesters were camping on the property without permission, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.
Officers issued written and verbal notices asking protesters to leave the property, according to Watson.
Three protesters voluntarily left, 14 did not leave and were issued citations for trespassing and one protester, who could not be cited because he or she lacked identification, was arrested, Watson said.
The Oakland Tribune has more on the story.
Occupy Oakland has set up a new camp, in an empty lot on the 2000 block of Peralta near Mandela Parkway and 20th Street. The West Oakland lot is in an industrial area with a lot of warehouses.
“There are about 20-25 people coming and going, and a bunch of dogs,” says our reporter Caitlin Esch, who visited the camp today. About a dozen tents have been put up, some makeshift. But camp members have big plans for the lot, as a lot more unoccupied space exists at the new location. The protesters said they want the camp to grow and that they hope to hold general assembly meetings, which at the height of the camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza drew hundreds of participants.
Protesters told Esch that the camp was set up last Thursday in conjunction with the dismantling of Occupy Berkeley. This new settlement is made up of a mix of Occupy Oakland newcomers and veterans. Some former Occupy Berkeley folks are there, as is at least one person who has camped with many Occupies around the country.
One of the veterans said the campers are part of Occupy Oakland’s “Tactical Action Committee.” He said the campers are acting under the authority of the General Assembly but were given leeway to act without approval for specific operations.
Since the main camps at Frank Ogawa and Snow Park were broken up in November, Oakland Occupiers have pitched camp in at least two other locations but were quickly chased out by police. No official word from the city on how it will handle the new encampment, but at one point a lone policeman spoke to protesters amicably through the gate. “He told them as long as the property owners don’t complain, they can stay,” says Caitlin Esch. The protesters said they don’t know who owns the property.
Twenty-three-year-old protester Christopher M. said he hopes the winter encampment and a vigil in front of city hall will keep the movement alive.
“I have a little girl, I don’t have a job, so I feel like whatever I can do to help her out in the future, so be it. There’s been a lot of actions that’s been going on and a lot of things we wanna change in the world, not just with Oakland.”
Another camper, who goes by the name of Boston, said he’s spent some time drifting between encampments around the country, but plans to spend the winter in Oakland.
“I don’t think this should be the main site to be quite honest, because I like to see the main site back in front of city hall. I like to see it right in front of Masonic structures right in the middle of downtown so the public has to see us everyday, but this could be used as a safe house or something. I really like the idea because no land should go unused, especially with all the homelessness and people losing their jobs.”
Neighbor Bud Cornell said he doesn’t see the point of occupying West Oakland. He’s concerned about the camp’s lack of bathroom facilities.
“I think everyone was into it, then the homeless took it over and kind of made it their thing and kind of ruined it,” he said.