In Frank Ogawa Plaza (renamed Oscar Grant Park by the occupiers), Occupy Oakland were attacked by Oakland police about 4 am this morning. The police surrounded the camp with vans, hummers and riot cops. They declared the camp an “unlawful assembly” and proceeded to use smoke bombs to force the camp to disperse. And downtown Oakland was sealed off with Oakland City Center reportedly shut down to prevent people from coming down to protest the eviction.
Police immediately moved in to take down tents. The plaza was cordoned off. But, a marching band continued to play despite the fact that Oakland police could use violence on them.
Photo via @OakFoSho
The occupation suspected there would be a raid last night, but, after midnight, they probably suspected they were in the clear. The decision to ambush the occupation at 4 am is not abnormal. Occupy Sacramento has faced multiple raids around 2-4 am. The police and various city governments in California appear to think the only way they can get away with their repression is by taking the camp by surprise. They know what the occupiers are doing has broad-based support so they must do it in the hours when the fewest amount of people will be awake and able to defend the camp from a raid.
Allison Kilkenny of The Nation wrote a summation of the use of police against the Occupy movement. She concludes:
What needs to be stressed here is the occupations are overwhelmingly peaceful events. Yes, in any mass movement like this there are a handful of delinquents who lash out unthinkingly, but they do not represent the majority of these citizens, whose greatest crimes are gathering and resisting what they perceive to be unjust economic and governmental systems.
Yet, despite this reality, police nationwide are treating the occupiers as though they’re terrorist cells. Governor Hickenlooper sent police dressed in full riot gear to dismantle Denver’s camp, and at the Times Square occupation, police were also dispatched in shields and face helmets. In these instances, the police are acting as though the greatest threat to America’s government is freedom of expression. Maybe they’re right.
The police are fulfilling their role as a tool of the state. The state does not want to have an uprising on their hands. Therefore, they are using force and intimidation to suffocate this growing movement. Some police forces are overtly engaging in acts that are designed to send a message to citizens (for example, the use of smoke bombs, pepper-spraying or the mass arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge). Other police forces are covertly engaging in acts that publicly appear benign, but when the occupiers are in jail for however long the police can keep them jailed before releasing them, occupiers experience treatment designed to convince them to not engage in civil disobedience or dissent again (for example, Occupy Chicago arrestees held for 48 hours over the past weekend).
The use of police (or, to encompass all security assets governments can wield, the security state) is necessary in the face of neoliberal policies that have wrought the economic destruction of which this movement is protesting. Governments have no intention or meaningful plans to reorganize society in favor of the poor, working class and middle class hurt by economic policies that favor the 1%. Therefore, in order to contain dissent or “social unrest” (as the powerful like to say), repression must be used.
Democrats and Republicans can offer representation and claim to advocate for people too. That can help pacify an abused and disgruntled population but the claim that either of the two parties represent the people’s interests is more and more difficult to believe. They are owned by financial firms on Wall Street and other Big Businesses. The people are waking up to the fact that they may have a vote, but votes do not make policy. Corporate and special interests make policy and the people must have influence over policy and the agenda of agencies, bureaucracies and other state-run institutions if anything is going to change.
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LIVE STREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET & OTHER OCCUPATIONS VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
12:19 PM And Occupy Atlanta is being evicted. Right now.
12:18 PM Person on livestream highlighting the Pelican Bay hunger strike that has been going on.
12:17 PM I’m sorry – Who is creating the health and safety hazards in Oakland?
12:12 PM This is the live stream of Occupy Oakland you’ve been looking for. (Click the play button to watch.)
12:03 PM This looks like footage that could have come from a crackdown on dissent in Yemen or Egypt (minus the killings). The OPD has turned Oakland into a war zone right now.
11:54 PM Now Orlando Police Department harassing Occupy Orlando – telling occupiers to remove all gear and property. (So, does that mean they can stay but they can’t have any stuff where they’ve been occupying?)
11:05 PM Woman in wheelchair teargassed
10:39 PM Collection of video from the Occupy Oakland police raid this morning:
10:22 PM Oakland Trib is reporting police have used concussion grenades and wooden dowls on Occupy Oakland protesters. And it looks like at least two have been arrested so far.
10:21 PM Gawker reports Occupy Oakland is trying to reclaim Frank Ogawa Plaza — which they renamed Oscar Grant Park.
This is a screen shot from the local ABC News affiliate in Oakland. They have a news chopper following the Occupy Oakland protest, which appears to have grown significantly since police attacked and raided the occupation earlier today. Watch the stream here.
9:55 PM Oakland police making arrests – officer on megaphone announcing those remaining in the plaza are arrested and should “submit” to the arrest. The riot cops are dismantling the camp in the video.
9:50 PM I visited Occupy Fort Wayne today. It is pretty impressive. They have a core group of about 20-30 occupiers. I was given a tour of the camp, which is in a park pavilion. I did a livestream report that was about a half hour long. I met someone who talked about how he sees Firedoglake as a blog with growing influence. He gave me a business card because what he is interested in, as an entrepreneur, is model sustainable cities.
I went out and bought supplies that FDL will be donating to the occupation. I’ll make the delivery tomorrow morning.
I’ll have more in my report on my visit, which will be posted tomorrow.
3:20 PM I am hitting the road right now. Headed to Occupy Fort Wayne in Indiana. It is the first stop on FDL’s #OccupySupply Fund Tour. I’ll be hitting nine cities in the Midwest by the time the tour is over.
Look for a post tonight featuring a report on the occupiers in Ft. Wayne. I will also be joined by some fellow FDL members.
3:09 PM Amy Goodman & Chris Hedges appeared on “The Charlie Rose Show” last night. Here’s video of the segment.
Goodman mentions one thousand sites have been set up all over the world. She says, “We are seeing something like we haven’t seen before except, what, decades ago with the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement. And it is something that is in formation. I don’t think it can be predicted where it will go.” She adds, “It is not just about what it will achieve…It’s already given people hope.”
Hedges builds off what Goodman said: “These people are very clear about what they want and what they want is to reverse the corporate coup d’etat that’s been carried out. This is a reaction to the collapse of globalization.” He also says, “American workers are being told that they somehow have to be competitive on a global marketplace. What it means is they have to be competitive with prison labor in China. And, that reconfiguration into an oligarchic corporate state is already far advanced.”
“These people are very, very clear that we cannot sustain ourselves both, not only as a society but even as a species, if we don’t confront the corporate state,” Hedges concludes. Seriously, he makes a point that comedian Bill Maher made on his show, “Real Time,” on Friday. He highlights how, unlike the antiwar movement, labor is attracted to this movement. They aren’t antagonistic toward the people who are holding these occupations, despite the fact that some of the participants are leftist.
3:06 PM Last night, I spoke with someone from Occupy Dallas. Here’s what a representative had to report—
Several hundred people joined the occupation for an action involving people closing their bank accounts at Chase Bank. Some time after 1:30 pm, several protesters sat down in front of the entrance and linked arms blocking the Chase Bank branch entrance. Ten to fifteen minutes after blocking the entrance police demanded they move and then they gave warnings and made arrests. The main action was to do the closing of accounts. The direct action was unplanned. About 26 people were arrested.
The occupation is not particularly interested in civil disobedience or direct action. They do protests and flash mobs to raise awareness and to educate the people in downtown Dallas on why they are holding an occupation. They seek to educate people on the influence of corporations on the political process. But, they do not have a Direct Action Committee. They instead have a Protest Committee.
The decision to do an action and close bank accounts at Chase was inspired by what happened with people being arrested at Citibank on October 15 in New York. People entered Chase bank in an orderly fashion. There was no march or action in the bank. They went in and voluntarily closed their accounts to move money into credit unions.
The occupation began on Thursday, October 6, with a march on Pike Park near the Federal Reserve building. That day they had over a thousand people. The movement has 120-140 people participating in the encampment. A legal team has been working to protect the occupation from being forced to disperse. They have developed good relations with the Dallas police.
From Polidoc – “Former West Virginia State Senator and House Delegate Charlotte Pritt expresses why she believes people should support the Occupy Movement. Pritt hopes that citizens all across the nation, support the young people on the front lines of the movement and take part in it themselves.”
12:59 PM And now the recall effort of Jean Quan is likely to get a boost.
12:51 PM Report on Oakland City Hall press conference-
The conference was very tense. Oakland police say some occupiers are being charged with felonies, not just misdemeanors. They say they used M-1000s, not flash-bang grenades when occupiers were allegedly throwing bottles at police. Oakland city is keeping Oscar Grant Park (Frank Ogawa Plaza) closed. They will no longer be allowing occupiers to camp. City claims they were “unsafe” and there were a number of fire hazards. They also say occupiers damaged park with graffiti, etc. A freelance writer affiliated with AFL-CIO asked during the press conference how Oakland plans to justify cost to taxpayers of using 500-600 police to disperse peaceful camp. City gave an answer that did not directly answer the question (not surprising). I suspect this raid will not go over well in the community. The camp was peaceful.
12:41 PM Occupy Orlando negotiating so encampment can continue – livestream here.
12:15 PM First-hand account of the Occupy Oakland raid:
…We were tear-gassed. That explains why the TV trucks left, and explains why they grouped us together.
Guess what folks? Tear gas fucking sucks. It hurts, it stings, it is nothing you want to experience. Of course, this made all of us alternative press folks run away from the tear gas. After that, the police refused to let any of us go back into the camp. Maybe if you had a press badge, but we know what happened to most of those people.
So tonight, the citizens right to peacefully assemble was halted. The media was tear gassed, and then not allowed to cover the story.
12:08 PM Chronology of the siege (features some good photos from the scene)
11:57 AM Occupy Oakland press conference on raid beginning now – here’s a livestream.
11:47 AM Democracy Now! report on the Occupy Oakland raid. A legal observer, Marcus Kryshka, on the scene reports:
The police came in very quickly. they kept all the media and all the legal observers out of the area. They quickly swept in and seemed t ous that they arrested everybody very quickly. We saw some people being carried away, some people being dragged away. All of this being done without any kind of real chance to observe. The media was all kept a block away as well as the legal observers. Anybody who was in the park was told that they would be arrested summarily if they were in the park.
He adds police tore down the tents. They were destroyed. By 8:20 AM ET, occupiers had all been moved out and police continued to destroy tents and other Occupy Oakland property. Police had been delivering written notices of eviction to occupiers.
11:31 AM Photo diary of the Occupy Oakland raid.
10:56 AM Occupy Oakland update: 75 people arrested – Police helicopters flying over.
10:51 AM SFGate with details on how the city made arrangements this morning so evicting and ending the occupation could be done in the most efficient way possible:
As police made arrests, BART trains did not stop at the 12th Street City Center Station. The station reopened at about 6:30 a.m., but only the 11th Street entrance and exit is accessible.
AC Transit has also rerouted a number of buses around the protest and parts of Broadway are closed to traffic.
City officials asked downtown businesses to consider allowing their employees to “delay their arrival” this morning to allow work crews to clean up the plaza. City employees were asked to come in later as well.
Also, the article includes a description of how occupiers initially tried to fend off police:
Protesters had vowed to resist eviction and protect the encampment that had grown to about 150 tents. Pathways made of wooden pallets connected a kitchen, a garden, a medical station and an area for children to play.
For more than an hour before the police moved in, several hundred people appeared ready to defend the camp, placing Dumpsters, boards, pallets and even metal police-style barricades around the plaza.
9:55 AM More from “Countdown” last night – nurse Jan Rodolfo of National Nurses United, whom I shot video of as she was being arrested per the orders of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was on the show.
9:30 AM Former mentor and friend from The Nation, Greg Mitchell, was on “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann last night. He discussed smears against the Occupy movement.
9:25 AM I finally hit the road today and begin my tour of occupations in the Midwest. I will be bringing FDL’s #OccupySupply Fund to occupations with encampments. At each occupation, I will ask what the occupation needs to be mor sustainable and last into the winter. Then I will go to a store, pick up supplies and bring what the occupiers need back to the camp.
First stop: Occupy Fort Wayne