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Entries in Occupy Oakland (8)

Monday
Nov142011

Police Peacefully Clear 'Occupy Oakland' Camp

ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Police outfitted in riot gear entered the Occupy Oakland encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza at around 5 a.m. PT to evict protesters who had called the plaza next to City Hall home for more than a month.

The police were met with little resistance and according to the San Jose Mercury News, "many protesters had packed up their tents before the eviction [and]...[by] the time police pressed into the camp...few occupiers remained.”

“It feels pretty sad because we built a community here, and now they can just come and destroy it,” 28-year-old Lara Bitar told the paper. “At the same time, this movement is about more than just the space here.”

Authorities had issued several cease and desist orders over the weekend and according to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who says she supports the Occupy movement, the morning raid was conducted because the movement in Oakland had changed.

“Occupy Oakland began to take a different path from the original movement,” she said. “It was no longer about the abuses of the financial system or foreclosures or the unemployed. The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and this week a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people were hurt.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov142011

Occupy Oakland Protests Slowing Down

ABC News(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Riot police are cleaning out the Occupy Wall Street protesters and making arrests at a week-old camp in Oakland. In fact, the crowd has grown so small they are now power washing the streets.

ABC’s Alex Stone reports from Oakland that things are petering out and most of the tents are gone now. Police have now put their batons in their holders, removing them from across their chests, but remain shoulder to shoulder around the park.

The protest group has already begun shrinking, and the protesters showed little resistance when police made arrests.

Roughtly 200 of them watched as police took down their tents, and were heard cheering every time they saw someone get arrested.

When the police first arrived, they acted very differently than they did several weeks ago, when they used tear gas and shot beanbag and other non-lethal rounds to control the protesters.

This time, they were sure to act slowly and methodically as they set up barricades. They held tear gas guns in their hands, making it clear what would happen if the protesters moved the barricades.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov142011

Occupy Crackdown: Beginning of the End for Protests?

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The tension is mounting outside Oakland's City Hall after police issued three eviction notices to anti-Wall Street protesters over the weekend, telling demonstrators they do not have the right to camp overnight.

Still, 150 tents remained Sunday in Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Though authorities have not said when or if they plan to raid the encampment, protesters are bracing for a possible crackdown.

Oakland police issued similar warnings to Occupy Oakland before raiding the campsite on Oct. 25.  More than 80 protesters were arrested and the clashes turned violent.  Police used tear gas and bean bags, seriously injuring an Iraq war veteran in the process.  He was reportedly released from the hospital, but his friends say he still has trouble speaking.

But the movement that garnered support around the country is now facing backlash from city governments nationwide.  Police in many cities say they have run out of patience, and officials are raising concerns about what they call unsanitary conditions and a growing number of crimes at some camps.

Over the weekend in Philadelphia, police arrested a man after a woman was dragged into a tent and sexually assaulted.  At Occupy Albany, N.Y., police arrested dozens of campers for defying a curfew.  And in Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people for refusing to leave a park one day after a man was found dead in his tent.

The largest clashes over the weekend occurred Saturday overnight in Portland, Ore., where there was a heated face-off between officers in riot gear and thousands of demonstrators.  Protesters built barricades with wood debris and old furniture to block streets.  Most finally agreed to leave, but police pushed out a few hundred stragglers late Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, at Occupy San Francisco, police say two demonstrators used a sharp object to attack two officers during a march.

In Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan released a statement saying, "While the camping must end, the movement continues."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov032011

Sexual Assaults Reported in 'Occupy' Camps

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Alleged sexual assaults at Occupy Wall Street camps have raised concerns about security in a handful of cities, including reports of rape and groping in tents at New York's Zuccotti Park and a sex offender in Dallas having sex with an underage runaway.

The recent reports of assaults have created a problem the "Occupy" movement is being challenged to address head-on.

"We always encourage victims to go through the proper channels and contact police," said Brendan Burke, 41, who helps run the security team in Zuccotti Park.

But that's not always the case. Burke admitted there have been times when members of the community have taken it upon themselves to chase off men who exposed themselves in the park.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- addressing the allegations of sexual assault Thursday -- said the reported practice of chasing perpetrators, rather than reporting them to police, is "despicable." If the reports are true, he said, the protesters have made the city less safe.

Burke said the group is taking action to help prevent any future assaults, something that camps across the country have began to address.

Some of the measures being implemented in camps include a well-lit, female-only sleeping area and a night security watch, which numbers 15 people at any given time, Burke said.

This comes just as Tonye Iketubosin, 26, was arrested late Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting two women, both inside tents in New York City's Zuccotti Park.

The first alleged attack occurred Oct. 24 after Iketubosin helped a 17-year-old girl to set up her tent. After he refused to leave, he allegedly groped the girl.

The second alleged assault occurred Oct. 29 after an 18-year-old woman from Massachusetts agreed to let Iketubosin sleep in her tent. She said she awoke to find him pulling off her pants and that he proceeded to rape her.

The problem of women being hassled, or worse, isn't unique to New York City.

Dallas police arrested a convicted sex offender for having sex with a 14-year-old runaway in the Occupy Dallas camp.

After police located the missing girl, she told them about her encounter with Richard Wayne Armstrong, 24.

"She gave us information she had sexual relations with a person. She could only a give nickname," said Cheryl Scott, deputy chief of the special investigations division.

Scott said the girl had told Armstrong and other occupiers that she was 19-years-old.

Armstrong is being held on felony charges of failure to register as a sex offender and sexual assault of a minor. The girl is in the custody of Child Protective Services, Scott said.

On Oct. 15, police responded to a delayed report of a sexual assault at Occupy Cleveland.

Reports of harassment and women made to feel uncomfortable are also popping up on Occupy Wall Street's message board.

Burke said although the group has increased security measures, it is important that people remain vigilant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov032011

Occupy Oakland Protesters Shut Down City’s Port

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters marched on the Port of Oakland Wednesday night, disrupting operations at the nation’s fifth largest port and causing all maritime operations in the city to be shut down.

Officials at the Port of Oakland said Wednesday that they hope to resume normal operations in the morning after protesters marched through the city all day and into the night on a “general strike” that saw banks and stores picketed and disrupted the flow of traffic.

Demonstrators began marching to the port at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and by 5 p.m. all work had been halted at the port.  A message on the website OccupyOakland.org said that the goal was “to stand in solidarity with the longshore workers and shut down the evening shift of the port.”

Omar Benjamin, the director of the Port of Oakland, confirmed the closing of the port at a late evening news conference.

“Maritime operations remain effectively shut down.  And the port is working to ensure that all workers in the harbor area can get home safely … It is our hope that the work day can resume tomorrow and port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident,” Benjamin said.

“Continued missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers and their families as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region,” he added.

Wednesday’s march through Oakland, Calif., was largely peaceful according to Oakland’s interim police chief Howard Jordan.

“There’ve been no arrests, there have been no injuries.  Earlier today at about 7:46 we received a call of a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle,” Jordan said late Wednesday.

But early Thursday morning, reports surfaced of clashes between demonstrators and police, who were said to have fired tear gas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

Injured Occupy Oakland Protester Identified as Iraq War Veteran

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The group Iraq Veterans Against the War has identified the demonstrator who endured a skull fracture after Occupy Oakland protesters clashed with police Tuesday night.

According to the organization’s statement, Scott Olsen, also a member of Veterans for Peace, was “shot in the head with a police projectile while peacefully participating in the Occupy Oakland march.”

A news release from Mike Ferner, Occupy Oakland’s interim director, said that Olsen’s condition was stable but serious.

Olsen, 24, a former Marine, did two tours of duty in Iraq before leaving the military in 2010.  Formerly of Wisconsin, he now lives and works in Daly, Calif.

On Tuesday, a number of clashes erupted between police as a group of nearly 500 protesters marched from the main branch of the Oakland Public Library to City Hall to reclaim the camp they’d been evicted from earlier in the day.

According to Ferner, a video with slow-motion footage showed police tossing a flash-bang into a group of people standing around someone in the street, though it was not clear whether Olsen was the person on the ground.

Authorities have denied reports that they used flash-bang canisters to help break up the crowds, saying the loud noises came from large firecrackers.

During a late-night news conference, Oakland Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan told reporters that authorities had no other choice then to use tear gas, saying the protesters were throwing rocks and bottles at officers.

According to Ferner’s statement, a Veterans for Peace member, Josh Sheperd, who’d witnessed Olsen’s injury, said that after police fired tear gas, bean bags and flash-bangs and warned demonstrators to leave, “people in the rear of the crowd threw eggs at the police.”

The statement from the Iraq Veterans Against the War said that Olsen was sedated at a local hospital and would be examined by a neurosurgeon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

After ‘Occupy’ Arrests, Protesters Plan to Keep Marching

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After nearly 170 arrests across the country Wednesday at camps associated with the ‘Occupy’ movement, protesters said they plan to continue marching and occupying parks after curfews, defying police and city orders.

“Occupy Oakland will reconvene every day … until the camp is reestablished,” a note on Occupy Oakland’s website said after police dismantled and raided the group’s camp in Frank Ogawa Plaza late Tuesday night, arresting more than 100 people.

Fifty-two people were arrested without incident in Atlanta after refusing to vacate Woodruff Park at the closing time of 11 p.m.

In New York City, where the movement began over five weeks ago, protesters marched up from Zuccotti Park in the downtown financial district to Union Square in a show of solidarity with demonstrators in Oakland.  Activists marched through the evening traffic, but it was a mostly peaceful demonstration.  Still, several arrests were reported as protesters clashed with police throughout the night.

No arrests were reported in Orlando, Fla, but after midnight, police began moving items and people out of Beth Johnson Park, including the local “Occupy” group’s flag.

Oakland, Calif., was the most tumultuous scene, with allegations of police violence.  Pictures have emerged from a skirmish showing a woman in a motorized wheel chair engulfed in tear gas and an Iraq war veteran being carried to safety after suffering a skull fracture from a projectile allegedly thrown by police.

The Oakland Police Department did not respond to multiple messages left by ABC News Wednesday.  However, at a press conference late Tuesday, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said police intervened after the protesters reportedly began throwing items at officers.

Jordan added that police were only using tear gas and bean bags, not rubber bullets, as had been reported.

Despite the arrests, protesters in all three cities and others around the country said they will remain resolute.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct262011

Police Fire Tear Gas to Disperse Occupy Oakland Protesters

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Chaos reigned throughout the streets of downtown Oakland, Calif., Tuesday night and early Wednesday as members of Occupy Oakland tried to take back an encampment they'd been kicked out of earlier by police.

Attempts at returning to Frank Ogawa Plaza, which the protesters renamed Oscar Grant Plaza after an unarmed man who was shot dead by a police officer two years ago, were stymied by tear gas lobbed at the estimated 1,000 people who marched in solidarity with Occupy Oakland.  It's just one of the hundreds of movements that grew out of Occupy Wall Street, which has been protesting corporate greed for more than five weeks in lower Manhattan.

There were confrontations between demonstrators and cops in riot gear all through the night and early morning hours, although police were not believed to be making many arrests in order to defuse the tense situation.

During the raid Tuesday morning to remove the 170 occupants from Frank Ogawa Plaza, there were about 100 arrests.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, 50 people who occupied a park for two weeks were taken into custody Tuesday when they refused to obey police orders to leave.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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