About 200 Occupy Oakland demonstrators and supporters marched through the city Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the police raid on Occupy tents in front of City Hall. The protest was relatively uneventful, despite concerns from some business owners who had boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent property destruction.
From the Oakland Tribune via the San Jose Mercury News:
Starting at 7 p.m., as many as 200 people snaked their way through downtown Oakland, to Lake Merritt, into Chinatown and then to the police department. The march took protesters on a walking tour of the sites of previous clashes between Occupy members and police.
By 9 p.m., they were back at (Frank Ogawa) plaza, had a drum circle going and watched a slideshow projected onto a sheet of photos of past protests. By 11 p.m., the crowd had dwindled to about 30 people, listening to music and milling about the plaza.
At one point during the march, protesters faced off against dozens of riot-gear clad officers outside Oakland police headquarters, but the marchers quickly peeled off and headed back to the plaza.
The Oakland Tribune reported that one protester, 25-year-old Alexander Loutsis of Stockton, was arrested after police said he threw a rock at officers.
Here is the Tribune’s video of the march:
Below are photos of the demonstration by KQED News staff and others, as well as Tweets covering the march. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more background on the protest.
Thursday marks one year since Oakland police raided the Occupy tents in front of City Hall.
The crackdown resulted in injuries to demonstrators and findings of police misconduct.
Frank Ogawa Plaza has a new lawn and vandal-proof irrigation boxes. And Oakland Mayor Jean Quan wants to keep it looking nice.
“This plaza will continue to probably be the voice of the diversity of Oakland’s political attention, but it does belong to the whole city,” Quan said.
Oakland Police Sergeant Chris Bolton says the department is preparing for protests by bringing in more officers, including from outside agencies.
“It’s no secret that these are typically outsiders intent on defacing the city,” he said. “I think if you ask people that truly believe in the Occupy message, that does not echo their thoughts and opinions.”
But Occupy demonstrators say it’s violence at the hands of police officers that they’re protesting.
Here’s how the Occupy Oakland website recounts the events:
Hundreds of violent police officers stormed into Occupy Oakland’s home base at Oscar Grant Plaza, near city hall, to evict protesters & to remove their belongings. 96 of our comrades were arrested after the cops used tear gas, flash-bang grenades and less-than-lethal munitions to subdue the crowd.
The site called for a discussion of how to “combat state and police oppression” and a potluck to start at 3 p.m. in front of City Hall, followed by a march at 7 p.m. that will “make stops at various downtown locations where the OPD has shown their ugly side against dissenters,” and ending at an undisclosed location “where we will hold that space through out the night.
By Thursday afternoon, some banks had boarded up their windows. Protesters began setting up artwork, including a sculpture of a pig wearing an “OPD” badge.
Some of those arrested in last October’s protests are still facing prosecution. On Wednesday, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley charged 3 men with misdemeanors including battery on an officer and assault with a deadly weapon.