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Occupy Oakland is an ongoing protest taking place at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in front of the City Hall and Snow Park in Oakland, California. The camping began on October 10th, 2011 as part of the Occupy Together alliance and the protests received much attention in the media and on the web after numerous bouts of violent clash with Oakland Police Department. In addition to the camping site in Oakland, other similar protests have been launched in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Occupy San Francisco and Occupy San Jose.
The demonstration in Oakland, California began with a rally and encampment of 150 tents in downtown Oakland in front of the City Hall on October 10th, 2011. Since then, the occupants have led numerous marches from Frank Ogawa Plaza to Snow Park and a number of local politicians including the mayor , city council members and congressional representatives have visited the site to express their support.
October 2nd: OccupyOakland.org Launches
The site domain Occupyoakland.org was registered on October 2nd, 2011 and the first announcement was posted on October 10th, 2011. According to the site description, OccupyOakland.org was created to serve as an open forum and an outlet for those who support the cause behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is also noted that no specific individual is the spokesperson for the occupation.
The web committee meets weekly Sunday at 1 pm on City Hall Steps or if not available at Mama Buzz Cafe. If you are a committee active in OccupyOakland please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to give feedback about how your activities can be better displayed on the site. If you are an individual participant in the movement you are welcome to create an account and join in the conversation–just as you are if at occupation assemblies, meetings and actions. There are three actively updated discussion forums: Open Mic, Reflections and Announcements sections.
October 10th: Encampment Begins
The demonstration began on October 10th, 2011. At its peak, the initial encampment consisted of about 150 tents. The two protest sites at Frank Ogawa Plaza and Snow Park were dismantled by police officers early in the morning on October 25th, 2011.
October 26th: Frank Ogawa Plaza
Later that day, the protesters tried to reclaim the sites. During clashes with police, two officers and three protesters were injured and more than a hundred people were arrested. The next day, October 26, more than a thousand protesters gathered peacefully at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Tents were set up again on the plaza that evening. The general assembly agreed to organize a general strike for November 2nd.
The site of the main encampment, Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, has been symbolically renamed “Oscar Grant Plaza” by the protestors, referring to the young African American man who was shot in the back by a white BART police officer in 2009. A diverse array of people inhabited the camp, ranging from students and professionals to unemployed workers and homeless people.
The roughly 150 tents were used for camping and to provide essential services to campers and visitors. A “miniature city” evolved over the course of two weeks complete with a kitchen, library, a bicycle-powered media center, children’s village, arts and crafts tent, medical tent, and a supply tent. A conflict resolution tent was also created to help manage arguments. Discussion groups, yoga classes, and seminars were also offered. Notable visitors to the site included actor and activist Danny Glover and hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco.
October 25th: Camping Site Raided
On October 25th, 2011, Bay Area police officers in riot gear raided both protest sites in the early hours shortly after midnight, resulting in several episodes of violent clash between the police and the protesters who refused to disband and leave the site. On October 22nd, the protesters were notified by Oakland Police Department to leave the camping site due to health and safety concerns. The skirmishes in down were streamed in realtime via LiveStream.
Dozens of video clips of the riot police firing rubber bullets, flashbang grenades and tear gas canisters were uploaded onto video-sharing sites like YouTube and spread via Twitter. One particular video showed a U.S. Marines veteran wounded after being shot at point-blank range with a plastic bullet.
On Twitter, #OccupyOakland became a global trending topic during the early hours of October 25th and a parody Twitter account purported as Oakland Police Department was launched on the same day. On Facebook, hundreds of people posted accusatory comments on the official page of Oakland mayor Jean Quan, who has previously expressed her support for the movement. After being forced to disperse, Occupy Oakland organizers posted an online call for action on its website OccupyOakland.org and other social networking accounts to continue the protests on October 26th at 6pm."
November 2nd: General Strike
On November 2nd, 2011, several thousands of protesters assmbled at Frank Ogawa Plaza for a mass rally in an effort to raise awareness of the Occupy movement. Circa 4 p.m., several thousand protesters marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza to the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest port in the United States. As a result of the general assembly, port operations were “effectively shut down” by the protesters and union workers who joined the demonstration as well.
While most activities during the day-time were clam and orderly, a small splinter group of violent demonstrators reportedly vandalized a grocery storefront and multiple ATMs which led to the police crackdown of the demonstration beginning at about mdnight. Dozens of YouTube videos uploaded by bystanders showed chaotic scenes from downtown Oakland and the police using teargas and flash bangs to break up the crowd, which quickly became viral on YouTube and Twitter. According to local news reports, around 30 people were reportedly arrested during the clash and at least four protesters were brought to hospital.
November 10th: Fatal Shooting
Nearly one month into the Occupy Oakland protests, on November 10th, 2011, a 25 year old man was shot and killed on the edges of the campsite. Kayode Ola Foster, who was known as Alex to protestors, had been a “frequent resident” of the campsite, according to police. The preliminary investigation found that the shooting happened during a fight between two groups of men which may not have begun on the plaza. Four to five gunshots were heard around 5pm by the exit of a BART station before the man was shot in the head. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.
Randy Davis, a cameraman from ABC affiliate KGO-TV, was attacked by protestors for trying to photograph the incident. Davis suffered a mild concussion after a dozen people shouting “No cameras!” and “No media!” went after him minutes after the shooting. On Twitter, mobile videos and photos depicting the aftermath and medical response began to circulate under the hashtag #OccupyOakland and #OO.
Spokespeople representing Occupy Oakland initially denied that the shooting was related to the protest, stating that it was merely an illustration of the frequent gun violence that takes place in the city combined with the fact street lights in the plaza had been turned off for the previous two nights. Many Twitter users criticized this idea, using the #occupyoakland hashtag to compare occupy crimes to terror attacks and calling protestors “freaks.” On November 14th, police confirmed that both the victim and a possible suspect in the shooting had been staying at the campsite.
The police have since encouraged campers to voluntarily leave the encampment so they can return to “fighting the devastating crime that’s occurring in [their] neighborhoods.”
November 14th: Second Raid, Quan’s Legal Advisor Resigns
Oakland police raided the encampment around 5am on November 14th. Within two hours, the camp had been completely emptied, leaving the area with scattered signs and tents. While there were no injuries reported, 32 protesters were arrested, although Mayor Quan said in a press conference that many protestors left the camp peacefully before the police began removing people. Afterwards, the police declared the area a crime scene, requiring the media leave the plaza immediately. Occupy Oakland organizers announced via Twitter that the removed protestors would be reconvening at the main branch of the Oakland library that day at 4pm, amplified by retweets and reposts on Twitter with the #occupyoakland hashtag.
A few hours before the raid, Mayor Quan’s top legal advisor Dan Siegel resigned from his position. He called the raid “tragically unnecessary,” noting his disappointment in the city for its aggression towards the movement. He also publicly tweeted his resignation and support of Occupy Oakland, which was retweeted by over 100 users.
Digital Journal – Videos of Occupy Oakland clash with police spread online
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