In a pre-dawn raid Tuesday involving hundreds of officers drafted from seventeen departments across northern California, the notoriously aggressive Oakland Police violently raided
and wiped out that city’s Occupy encampment. By sunrise most of the protesters had fled beyond a cordon that stretched for several blocks back of Frank Ogawa Plaza, so far back that reportedly no media or bystanders could watch the scene unfold within. A communique from Occupy Oakland described the military-style eradication mission:
“Tear gas and flash bangs were fired into the camp where children were sleeping, people were beaten and shot with rubber bullets. The assault was also levied against our property in the camp, and the cops tried their best to completely destroy everything we had there. Almost every tent has been destroyed, many slashed with boxcutters, structures smashed, basically this was not an eviction, they came in to destroy everything we had.”
Upwards of 85 persons were arrested and dragged away with their arms zip-tied behind their backs, and charged with unlawful assembly and illegal lodging. Many Oaklanders close to those arrested report that the charges also include failure to disperse and crossing a police line, and that bail is set at $10,000. A smaller satellite camp just blocks away at Snow Park was also raided and torn asunder. Numerous first hand accounts circulating on the Internet tell of rampant acts of police violence during the blitz against mostly slumbering occupiers.
“Police used sound weapons and tear gas on the people there,” says one Oaklander.
“They kept the media and legal observers out, surrounded the camp and destroyed everything, including the kitchen, a free school/library, a childcare center, an arts center, and diverse cultural monuments to peace. People were brutalized and injured and many will spend the day in jail for attempting to envision a different society.”
From Washington D.C. (away on a lobbying trip) Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement after the police raid, recycling the city’s talking points that had been circulated days earlier in an eviction order, with no deadline, posted on the city’s web site: “over the last week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the City could maintain safe or sanitary conditions, or control the ongoing vandalism.”
On Quan’s orders the police attempted to patrol the encampment from its beginning, but had been rebuffed by the occupiers who are serious about establishing their independence from the state and political parties in order to critique these corrupt institutions…
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