OAKLAND, California – Over a month in the planning process, the Oakland Commune held a “Move-in Day” to take over a building and hold a festival on Jan 28. As of around 12:30pm a rally at Oscar Grant Plaza began, with a march to follow. [Updated Jan 31 – 7pm. Read below.]
1:30pm – the intersection has been taken at 14th and broadway. Waiting for the sound truck.
1:35 – march begins down broadway.
1:50 – going east on 13th
1:57 – south on jackson. Then left on 11th, right on madison. Some 1500 here
2:15 – marching through laney college to avoid cops.
2:30 – bottlenecking through laney
2:50 – at 12th and lake merrit. Cops telling us to disperse or else harm may come to us.
3:05 – stand off over, folks marching back downtown
3:15 on oak. Smoke grenades.
3:20pm – stand off at 11th and oak st. While another large group chills on 12th and oak.
3:25 – cops push us back with tear gas and rub bullet
4pm – Back at Oscar Grant Plaza to reconnoiter.
5:34 – were on the move to attempt to occupy a building again
5:56 – surrounded at 19th telegraph lot after marching
After marching down different streets and being consistently blocked off by police, the police surrounded demonstrators in front of the YMCA. They kettled demonstrators and summarily arrested them. Most arrestees were charged with “409, Failure to Disperse”. Some were given a number of other charges like burglary — given to folks who were allowed into the YMCA by a staffer. By early Tuesday morning most arrestees were released. Demonstrators held in Santa Rita County Jail who required medication for serious conditions, like HIV, were not allowed their medicine. Those with felony charges were arraigned Tuesday afternoon, some having no charges filed against them by the District Attorney.
When the march arrived at Broadway between 22nd and 23rd streets, protesters asked to be let into the YMCA and someone who was in there opened the doors. Police later closed in on both sides until they had formed a line preventing the approximately 400 protesters from exiting.
On Broadway, there was no dispersal order issued. This is in violation of the Oakland Police Department’s crowd control policy, which states that “If after a crowd disperses pursuant to a declaration of unlawful assembly and subsequently participants assemble at a different geographic location where the participants are engaged in non-violent and lawful First Amendment activity, such an assembly cannot be dispersed unless it has been determined that it is an unlawful assembly and the required official declaration has been adequately given.”
About 6:30 p.m., police announced that all of the blocked-in group was under arrest.
It was more than six hours before the sidewalk was cleared of all detainees. Most are charged with failure to disperse. Some, such as those who entered the YMCA, have been charged with burglary.
Dozens of protesters who had avoided arrest marched back to City Hall. There, they illegally entered the building and committed several acts of vandalism. According to a press release, these included “breaking an interior window to a Hearing Room, tipping over and seriously damaging the historic model of City Hall, destroying a case containing a model of Frank Ogawa Plaza, and breaking into the fire sprinkler and elevator automation closet.” Protesters also report setting off fireworks in the counsel chambers. (via SF Bay Guardian)
- Inside the Occupy Oakland Protest – SF Bay Guardian