Occupy Oakland, Portland camps cleared by police; protest march on D.C. continues
The Occupy Oakland camp was dispersed by police on Monday morning after several warnings over the weekend, resulting in dozens of arrests. As AP reported:
Riot-clad law enforcement officers cleared out Oakland’s weeks-old anti-Wall Street encampment just before dawn Monday, arresting Occupy demonstrators and removing tents from a downtown plaza after issuing several warnings over the weekend.
Protesters appeared to put up little resistance and officers could be seen calmly leading some demonstrators away in plastic handcuffs. Warnings from authorities had been similar to those issued before officers used tear gas and bean bag projectiles to clear the encampment on Oct. 25.
Police made more than 20 arrests during Monday’s raid, Mayor Jean Quan said.
After officers blocked off the streets surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza, some demonstrators gathered near the barricades and vowed to return.
“I don’t see how they’re going to disperse us,” 30-year-old Ohad Meyer said. “There are thousands of people who are going to come back.”
Oakland officials stepped up calls for an end to their city’s encampment after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the plaza. Police issued a fourth cease and desist order Sunday night telling demonstrators they couldn’t camp there.
Quan had allowed protesters to reclaim the disbanded site after facing criticism following the Oct. 25 raid. The camp grew substantially afterward, although city officials said on Sunday the number of tents has dropped by about 30 to 150 since Nov. 8.
“We really tried to make this a safe and peaceful day,” Quan told The Associated Press after the tents were taken down Monday. “Even though there are those who disagree with my decision, we hope it is peaceful. We need them to honor and respect our city and keep it safe.”
The Occupy Portland camp was broken up by police on Sunday. After several protesters refused to leave, arrests followed, as well as renewed protests and marches. As AP explained:
Several hundred protesters, some wearing goggles and gas masks, marched past authorities in a downtown street Sunday, hours after riot police forced Occupy Portland demonstrators out of a pair of weeks-old encampments in nearby parks.
Police moved in shortly before noon and drove protesters into the street after dozens remained in the camp in defiance city officials. Mayor Sam Adams had ordered that the camp shut down Saturday at midnight, citing unhealthy conditions and the encampment’s attraction of drug users and thieves.
More than 50 protesters were arrested in the police action, but officers did not use tear gas, rubber bullets or other so-called non-lethal weapons, police said.
After the police raid, the number of demonstrators swelled throughout the afternoon. By early evening, dozens of officers brandishing nightsticks stood shoulder-to-shoulder to hold the protesters back. Authorities retreated and protesters broke the standoff by marching through the streets.
Demonstrators regrouped several blocks away, where they broke into small groups to discuss their future. Some advocated occupying foreclosed homes, others wanted to move onto the Portland State University campus or to the shores of the Willamette River.
In the hours after the midnight eviction deadline, the anti-Wall Street protesters and their supporters had flooded the park area even as authorities in other cities across the nation stepped up pressure against demonstrators, arresting dozens of people.
(See the main Occupy the Highway blog for the latest news on the march.)
For the next two weeks, Elizabeth Flock will be reporting from the sides of East Coast roads as she makes her way from Elizabeth, N.J. to Washington, D.C. with a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters. Here’s the view from the highway:
Protesters participating in the Occupy the Highway march from New York to Washington nearly clashed last night with a group of high-school and college students at a bar in Princeton, N.J.
The conflagration began after Princeton student Whetney Brockton started to yell at the marchers as they passed by the bar. “We’re the 1 percent!” Brockton yelled at them, laughing and making a thumbs up sign. “Get a job!” his friends yelled in chorus.
Paulomarco, a marcher who recently left the New York Institute of Technology because the tuition was too expensive, shot back, “We have jobs!” Paulomarco would not give his last name.
“The fact is, America is a society that values skill,” said Brockton, after calming down. “If I was in their position and didn’t have a skill or job, I guess I’d do the same thing.”
Among the jobs the marchers say they hold or recently held are EMT, playwright, writer, truck driver, executive assistant and photographer. Several more are students, and a few are unemployed.
When the marchers arrived in New Brunswick, N.J. on Thursday, nearly 100 people turned out to support them as they assembled at Rutgers University. At Princeton, only one person, a female freshman student, came out in support.
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