Occupy Oakland Raided by Police, Reports of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets
Today, Oakland occupiers were swept out of two encampents amid claims of excessive force. The livestream, which is going in and out, is embedded at the bottom of this post.
Here's the tweet from Occupy Oakland sent out just after it happened early this morning:
The Oakland occupation's website goes into some more detail, saying over 70 (some reports now say 85) were arrested:
This morning at 5am over 500 police in riot gear from cities all over central California brutally attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment at 14th & Broadway. The police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles. Apparently the media was not allowed in to document this repression, and the police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. Over 70 people were arrested and the camp gear was destroyed and/or stolen by the riot police.
Here is a series of stunning pictures of the raid which show the sheer numbers of officers compared to protesters.
The San Jose Mercury News reported on exactly how the surprise raid went down:
OAKLAND -- Before dawn Tuesday, at least 200 police, many in riot gear, tore down the Occupy Oakland encampment in front of City Hall and arrested dozens of people. Early reports from police say the raid went smoothly, with all protesters cleared out of the plaza in less than 30 minutes.
Police said the protest was relatively peaceful with many of the campers leaving on their own. Many were also handcuffed and led away by police from the camp at 14th Street and Broadway.
About three hours later, police descended on a second Occupy camp at Snow Park near Lake Merritt, with the intent of removing that as well.
At the downtown camp, police, armed with billy clubs and some with shotguns, overturned tents, and the campers' wooden stalls quickly, leaving what looked like a hurricane-struck refugee camp in their wake. They ripped up dozens of cardboard signs, overturned a couch and when it was over there were scraps of carpet, personal belongings and trash all over the plaza.
From SFGate.com, an idea of how massive the operation was--"hundreds" of officers swept in:
The police action there began at 4:45 a.m. and involved hundreds of officers from at least 10 law-enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the Alameda County sheriff's office and various East Bay police departments. Squads of officers had assembled at the Oakland Coliseum before traveling in convoys downtown.
Officers in riot helmets began arriving in force and formed a line in the street adjacent to the plaza while motorcycle officers shut down the street. Some protesters began shouting, "Cops, go home!"
Calls to regroup after the raid have already gone out over Twitter, as well as a call to email the office of the mayor with complaints: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Occupy Oakland website says: "Reconvene today at 4pm at the Oakland Library on 14th & Madison. Occupy Oakland is not finished, it has only begun."
Occupy Boston will march in solidarity with their comrades in Oakland at 5pm.
Before the raid, the Oakland occupiers made a video explaining their reponse to the city's demands and threats of eviction.
Watch it below.