Our reporter Andrew Stelzer was at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly last night interviewing one of the protesters when Jean Quan showed up. He talked to her briefly as she attempted to get in line to address the crowd during the public comments section of the meeting. “Her arrival was met with loud and boisterous booing,” Stelzer reports, “with many angry at her for the both the eviction of the camp, and police violence Tuesday night.” Quan returned to city hall without speaking.
The audio is below. It includes a conversation with a member of the General Assembly before Quan shows up. He says in order for Quan to be welcomed by the protesters, she needed to “drop your ego of being the mayor…hey, you’re Jean, or you’re a person, you’re welcome to come here… We don’t need people reinforcing the roles we don’t particularly care for in our space, though people are subjectively allowed to voice their opinions and views whenever they want.”
KTVU also has raw video of part of the confrontation.
Before the incident, Quan issued a statement (pdf) in which she apologizes for the “outcome” of Tuesday’s police action against Occupy Oakland protesters. “It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened,” she writes.
I had hoped to speak directly to you tonight. I was told that I could speak at the Speak Out at 6 pm, but that was cancelled. So I apologize for providing these remarks in written form.
I am deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday. It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened. Today I visited Scott Olsen and his parents because I was concerned about his recovery. And I hope we will keep them all in our prayers.
We have started an investigation into the use of force, including tear gas, on Tuesday. I cannot change the past, but I want to work with you to ensure that this remains peaceful moving forward.
When there’s violence, there are no winners – it polarizes us and opens old wounds rather than brings us together, which is the aim of Occupy Wall Street and uniting the 99%.
We are a nation in crisis. Oakland more than most cities faces budget cuts, unemployment and foreclosures. We are also a Progressive city. And as a long-time civil rights activist and union organizer I want my City to support the movement. Thank you for last night’s peaceful protest. I will continue to order a minimal police presence. I need you to maintain a nonviolent attitude towards people, business owners, and homeowners around City Hall. I hope you will consider starting a dialogue with the small businesses around City Hall that you impact.
We pledge to work with Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street, but we need to ask for four things:
1) We understand that some members of Occupy Oakland want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We agree. We need to have direct communications between city staff and your representatives. 2) We need you to maintain healthy and safe conditions where you gather. 3) We need our public safety employees to have access when there is an emergency. 4) We are asking you not to camp overnight. Frank Ogawa Plaza is open for free speech activities between 6 am and 10 pm.
We can change America and but we must unite and not divide our city. I hope we can work together.