Oakland Police Methodically Destroy the Occupy Encampment

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UPDATE 5:40 A.M. PST: Having met no resistance from the protesters, the police line that had blocked Broadway broke the line and left the scene. Police started escorting press out of the camp a few minutes later, in order to take an inventory of what was inside. While things stayed peaceful between the police and the protesters, the camp itself took a beating. "There's nothing but tents in there," one of the protesters told the Occupy Oakland media team. "And they whooped those tents' asses." 

UPDATE 5:20 A.M. PST: It's a weird mix of activities in Oakland right now. As the sun started to rise, police continued making arrests and began tearing down the camp in City Hall plaza. "It's ok," said the Occupy Oakland media team member filming the events. "It'll be back tomorrow." Others chanted "Shame on you!" Meanwhile, two protesters got married on a side street.

UPDATE 5:00 A.M. PST: With most of the protesters kept out of the plaza, police moved in and began making arrests. Members of Occupy Oakland's interfaith community were reportedly the first arrested, and officers escorted them out of the camp and towards a processing facility. Just before the arrests started, the City of Oakland sent out a statement to local business leaders updating them on situation and suggesting their employees come to work at 10 a.m., as city employees have been instructed.

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UPDATE 4:50 A.M. PST: Police from all over the Bay Area — 12 agencies by the count of the media team member live-streaming the confrontation — surrounded the City Hall plaza and ushered protesters out of the camp. Protesters gathered around the camp as police blocked adjacent streets and a helicopter circled the crowd, but the officers in riot gear gave no order to disperse at first. Protesters were dressed for the worst.

UPDATE 4:00 A.M. PST: Police appear to be moving in. Officers from several area communities are blocking off intersections and helicopter are circling. Follow these Twitter accounts — Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) from Russia Today and Gavin Aronsen (@garonsen) of Mother Jones — and watch the live Ustream feed below:

A report is spreading that police in Oakland are planning a giant raid for early Monday morning, meant to sweep protesters from their City Hall camp. The story comes from The Bay Citizen, which says the city is calling in 700-to-1,000 officers to evict the campers from their location, sometime around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. local time. Protest organizers have been calling out for supporters to come down and defend the camp on this morning.

Oakland has been one of the most vocal and troubled of the Occupy Wall Street-affiliated protests. Police have issued three eviction orders since Friday, claiming that camp has violated laws on open fires and propane tanks. On Thursday, a man was shot and killed near the camp and The Los Angeles Times is reporting that, despite denials by Occupy Oakland participants, both the victim and the suspect had been staying the encampment. There have also been several confrontations with the local media, who many protesters believe to be misrepresenting the movement and giving it a bad name. A cameraman attempting to cover last week's shooting was attacked by some bystanders.

Oakland's protests have also been among the most successful, with their shutdown of the Oakland ports generating big headlines in the early days of the demonstration.

Mayor Jean Quan has gone back and forth on her support for the protest, but has been reportedly been trying to broker a deal that would move most of the campers to a nearby park and out of the plaza near City Hall.

A live Ustream feed from the park, shows protesters up and active into the early morning hours on Monday and they seem to be expecting a confrontation sometime today. The protesters are hearing (unconfirmed) reports from other sources that police are massing at the Oakland Coliseum and that arrests are imminent.

We'll keep you updated if things progress further. Two twitter accounts to follow for updates would Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) from Russia Today and Gavin Aronsen (@garonsen) of Mother Jones who are both on the scene.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.