As had been widely rumored yesterday, police have raided and dismantled Occupy Oakland’s camp. In addition to the Oakland Police Department, as many as 11 different law enforcement agencies ranging from Alameda County to the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Occupy Oakland Media Ustream, which is embedded below but was no longer live as of 9:45AM CT.Live video from your iPhone using Ustream The timing of this police action is, from a purely public relations strategy point of view, bizarre. Journalist and cartoonist Susie Cagle, who has been covering events in Oakland extensively and was arrested for being on the scene on November 3, is on the ground again and is just one of many commenters who expressed this sentiment when she tweeted:Nearing rush hour, right amidst east coast morning Monday news cycle — WTF is the city thinking here?
Oakland Local has the official statement from the City of Oakland on this action, which again uses an unrelated shooting and “public health” as pretexts:However, as of Sunday evening, a majority of protesters were still lodging in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and given unfortunate occurrence of Thursday evening’s homicide, the City could not assure adequate public health and safety in the plaza. The complexity of securing an adequate level of mutual aid has been a challenge, and has impacted timing of the City’s response. We are fortunate that law enforcement agencies have made themselves available to provide this service, which has been coordinated by the County Sheriff’s Office.At 8:20 CT, the Ustream showed police taking down tents in what the City still officially calls Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, known as Oscar Grant Plaza to the movement. Earlier, members of an interfaith group affiliated with Occupy Oakland were arrested while apparently holding a vigil. As I understand it, most inhabitants of the camp had moved out and cleared out food and possessions they did not want police to confiscate, with only a smaller number of people willing to be arrested remaining. The question is what will happen next: Presumably the City’s hope is that the crowds gathered on the other side of police lines disperse, rather than grow, but that seems naïve to put it mildly. Update, 9:45 CT: According to the Mercury News, Mayor Jean Quan’s legal adviser Dan Siegel has resigned over this morning’s police raid:His Facebook post: “No longer Mayor Quan’s legal adviser. Resigned at 2 am. Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators.” Siegel and Quan have been friends for decades, since they attended University of California, Berkeley together.The same statement from Siegel is on his Twitter account.
Joe Macaré is a writer, editor and development and communications professional, originally hailing from the UK and now residing in Chicago. His writing has appeared at In These Times, TruthOut, AlterNet, Dazed and Confused, The Times, Plan B and Stylus. He has appeared on WBEZ radio and Chicago Newsroom to discuss his extensive coverage of the Occupy Chicago movement.