Occupy Oakland said today it wants to set up a new encampment at Fox Square Park in the rapidly gentrifying Uptown district, which has tried to position itself as a hip, upscale arts and entertainment hub. (Watch the full press conference here.)
Some residents are not happy, to say the least, as you’ll see in this KGO video, where one guy interrupts the Occupy speaker to say, “you’re going to put something together here, put together a dirty, filthy tent city right in the middle where all of us live.”
Our reporter Caitlin Esch was on the scene and said other residents who live in the Uptown Apartments building came out to oppose the move.
The site is also near Oakland School for the Arts and Esch says the school’s Executive Director and parents expressed concern as well.
Occupy Oakland voted by an overwhelming margin earlier this week to reassemble its encampment at the site. However, only about 300 members voted, and there is another proposal on the agenda at tonight’s general assembly to rescind that vote.
If plans for the camp move forward, protesters plan to set up the tents tomorrow.
The site is adjacent to the “Remember Them” monument, by artist Mario Chiodo. The sculpture, which is still in progress, was inspired by the Sept 11 attack and will eventually depict 25 historical figures, including FDR, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Oskar Schindler, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Maya Angelou. The Oakland Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations footing the bill, and some protesters told Caitlin Esch that they thought it was hypocritical the organization would support a work depicting famous activists while at the same time opposing their group.
Some Occupy member also said they want the new encampment to take on a different feel: safer, quieter, and smaller, with more participation in the life of the camp from the general community.
The group also called for a march and a mass day of action tomorrow.
You can see the full press conference, which starts at around 14:00 of the video, here: