Thanks to YouTube user guslto99 for the tear gas footage!
At around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, about 400 police officers, donned in riot gear and carrying batons and shotguns, from 16 law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area descended on two Occupy Oakland encampments in what resulted as a three hour raid, resulting in at least 75 arrests.
Police used tear gas, flash bang grenades, and bean bag rifles to disperse the 200 hundred or so protestors at Frank Ogawa Plaza who refused to leave. At one point, a cloud of tear gas drifted away from the camp and threatened media and on-lookers who were at 14th and Broadway across the street from the camp. At around 5:30 a.m., police hit the second camp at Snow Park, where a handful of campers set up tents.
Word is that a number of campers arrested last night will not be cited and released as is customary during acts of civil disobedience. Rather, they are being held on
$10,000 $7,500 bail and will be arraigned Thursday, the maximum time allowed by law to be charged with a crime (72 hours).
After the arrests, a group of protestors broke off and rampaged through downtown, throwing garbage cans, Dumpsters, and barricades into the road as police played cat and mouse with them for about 30 minutes.
City officials held a press conference about the raid today. Occupy Oakland released an official statement:
Citizens of the Bay Area will be meeting this afternoon in response to the paramilitary-style attack on Occupy Oakland early this morning. The police raid resulted in the arrests of over 75 non-violent protesters, organizing to fight issues such as wealth disparity, corporate and government corruption, and the destruction of vital benefits and social services.
Issues of violence, sanitation, and fire hazards were used as a pretext to evict Occupy Oakland from the camp. On Monday, the protesters invited City of Oakland officials to voice their concerns at the General Assembly. Instead, the city spent hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of taxpayer dollars to evict peaceful protesters. Over a dozen local police departments participated in this egregious show of force. Armored vehicles, riot gear, tear gas, and bean bag bullets were deployed against unarmed U.S. citizens.
Yesterday in Albany, New York, city and state police refused to interfere with 700 protesters who had gathered for Occupy Albany. Occupy Oakland calls on local police and public officials to demonstrate similar ethical standards in the future.
As has been seen in other occupations, police repression of free speech has led to vastly greater community support and participation. The Oakland community is responding in kind.
“For every one of us you repress, fifty join the movement. Oppressive attacks like the exorbitantly expensive one last night, give social movements their wings,” said
Steven Boffo, a camper at Grant/Ogawa Plaza.
As of 12:00pm Tuesday, protesters and community members still surround the police barricades at the plaza. Many community members have been vocal in reminding the police that they are part of the 99% and that Occupy Oakland is fighting for their futures and the futures of their families.
“We are society, and we are standing up and saying get your hand out of my pocket and get your foot off of my neck,” cried a mother and student participating in the occupation.
Arrested protesters are being held with up to $7,500 bail until Thursday on misdemeanor charges, rather than the usual cite and release procedure.
Protesters and supporters are reconvening today at 4:00pm outside the downtown Oakland Library to demonstrate their disgust at this blatant violation of First Amendment rights, and to plan further actions of peaceful resistance. Labor unions in the Bay Area strongly support Occupy efforts throughout the country, and will be convening at 5:30pm to develop a course of action to build and support Occupy Oakland.
“Our unions throughout the Bay Area and statewide have joined together to give strong support to Occupy Oakland and this growing international movement; and appreciate Occupy Oakland’s expressed support of labor actions in the Bay Area,” stated Allan Brill, Staff Representative with a local union affiliated with the California Federation of Teachers and California Teachers Association. “SEIU and OEA provided the porta-potties, other unions provided food and supplies, and locals have pledged to continue to support Occupy Oakland and other occupations throughout the Bay Area.”
Occupy Oakland calls out to the Bay Area community to support this movement. Bring your voice, your story, your ideas, and your frustrations. All are welcome, and all will be respected and supported.