November 21, 2011
A visit to the sites of OccupyOakland today revealed that the house has been cleared (for now). Only a few people congregated in the afternoon sun at Frank Ogawa Plaza, several of whom were hired security guards. A brief chat with a couple of young people resulted in advice to come back at 6 pm for a meeting of the General Assembly.
As we were leaving, we spotted some commotion around a sidewalk tree on the edge of the Plaza. We encountered “Robin,” a young man in his 20s, who is currently dwelling in a three-level tree platform which has been labeled “Ohlone Land.” Robin shouted down to us that “we are not coming down until Jean Quan agrees to let people camp at the Plaza again.” He explained that the platforms were built by Running Wolf and Black Foot, who wanted to have a presence in the Occupy Movement on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and their rights; to make a point that the City Hall complex is on stolen lands. Robin also pointed out that eco-justice issues need to have a more prominent place in the Occupy Movement.
We next headed to Snow Park were there has been an ancillary OccupyOakland encampment. A lone cop leaned against his squad car, surveying the park. He had been a part of the sweep in the early morning hours. He said there had been no clash – the Occupiers were told to remove their tents, about 20 in number, and they were allowed to remove the tents and their belongings. The information from the cop was confirmed by Occupier “Alex,” whom we next encountered, who said the protesters took it upon themselves to pack up and flee when the Oakland cops advanced on the park. No clash was sought.
About 15 Occupiers were hanging out at Snow Park, amongst a collection of odds and ends – chairs, tarps, a Thule box, flattened tents and duffle bags. As we talked with Dale Townsend, who explained that City of Oakland workers came to the Park hours before the raid and handed out hotel vouchers to the homeless, a meal of chicken salad was being set up on milk crates. Dale said there was a new secret location for OccupyOakland, and excused himself to go eat. Alex said that the Occupiers would be back as soon as it seemed “right,” and showed us several tents he had at the ready.
No doubt, the General Assembly will have a few good ideas about what comes next.
OccupySF Offered Alternative Location (By Luke Thomas)
In San Francisco, Department of Public Works interim Director Mohammed Nuru revealed today City officials have offered OccupySF protesters an alternative location to setup camp. Though Nuru would not reveal the exact location, we understand the location to be a lot on the west side of Mission Street between 15th and 16th streets. A former school, the site has running water and bathrooms as well as classroom-type structures that could be used for organizational purposes.
No word yet on whether OccupySF will take up the City’s offer but, we’re told, the offer has been accepted in good faith.
Speaking of Nuru, he seemed to be in less prickly mood following efforts by Occupy campers to adhere to guidelines he noticed last week. He grumbled a little about litter and said animals, of which there are several dogs and cats, are not permitted. Despite a few minor demerits, Nuru seemed upbeat about the progress being made and was pleased to know OccupySF is the longest standing Occupy encampment in the US.
“We are the 99 percent,” he said.