Organizers of Occupy Oakland have a new 24/7 vigil strategy that they plan to kick off Tuesday at noon. They say the new approach gives them the legal right to stay in Frank Ogawa Plaza, outside Oakland’s City Hall indefinitely.
Phil Horne, media spokesman for the Occupy SF Legal Committee, told KQED News intern Reena Flores that if they just maintain an ongoing vigil court precedent is on Occupy’s side.
Horne pointed to this 1984 Supreme Court decision. The case revolved around a dispute where a homeless advocacy wanted to hold a tent protest in Lafayette Park across from the White House.
“The supreme court considered whether law enforcement could end that encampment and what the campers could bring back to Lafayette park,” says Horne. “And pretty much the ruling focuses on sleeping and the judges indicate…that tents and structures and tables were all appropriate and certainly were not subject to law enforcement actions as long as they were part of the protest, as long as they were part of the expression and association. But the sleeping was not a necessary part of the expression. So the Washington DC and the park police could enforce against the encampments but not against the vigil.”
A press release from the Occupy Oakland Vigil Committee says they “hope to create a model for a new wave of “Occupation” protest throughout the United States.”
It goes on to say:
With the vigil, Occupiers will continue asserting rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to assemble, speak, and petition government for redress of grievances. The vigil is not the product of a bargain with Mayor Quan, nor is it negotiated with law enforcement–permission from the city is not required to exercise these constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The city of Oakland hasn’t responded to requests for comment at this point.