Occupy Oakland holds short march during rush hour

October 15, 2011 1:13:21 AM PDT
Occupy Wall Street protests are still taking place around the country. In Oakland demonstrators against corporate greed went on the move.

Occupy Oakland protesters left their encampment for an hour-long march. Police set up barricades at a couple of key intersections to help direct protesters back to city hall without incident. It was shorter than expected; it took them about 45 minutes to march from 14th Street to Oakland Police Headquarters back to their tent city at Frank Ogawa Plaza where they have camped out for the night.

Dozens broke off from their encampment to chant and shout their multi-faceted message. It was a demonstration that was loud and confrontational, but not violent. Among those participating was Berkeley resident Stephanie Miyashiro and some friends who remained even after the march was over.

"I'm part of this because we are part of the 99 percent and everything is sort of set up and it looks like we're at the bottom of the pile," said Miyashiro as tears rolled down her cheeks.

With Miyashiro was 86-year-old Ruth Maguire.

"People need to get outraged, I'm also really happy that young people are now fighting for their own futures, and I'm really out here to support them. It's really their battle at this point," said Berkeley resident Ruth Maguire.

The only stop the group made was outside Glendire detention facility and then continued back to Ogawa Plaza at City Hall.

For a while a short standoff was prompted as police in riot gear stood by after their efforts at crowd control and a woman in the Occupy Oakland group swept dust on police officers boots. For some spectators, these tense moments led to questions of the group's motives.

Zack is a student in Oakland, who didn't want to give his last name, but says he didn't like some demonstrators' chants against the police.

"Public safety, yeah, I think everybody is hurting, the police are hurting, the people are hurting, I think everybody needs to learn how to start to respect each other," said Zack.

Oakland resident Andrei Pasternak watched the group from his bus stop on his way home and supports the basic idea of the occupy wall street movement, but wonders about the focus.

"I think the message is kind of all over the place in some ways, but I think that's part of the message, you know that there's not a centrist idea," said Pasternak.

The only stop the group made was outside Glendire detention facility and then continued back to Ogawa Plaza at City Hall.

For a while a short standoff was prompted as police in riot gear stood by after their efforts at crowd control and a woman in the Occupy Oakland group swept dust on police officers boots. For some spectators, these tense moments led to questions of the group's motives.

Zack is a student in Oakland, who didn't want to give his last name, but says he didn't like some demonstrators' chants against the police.

"Public safety, yeah, I think everybody is hurting, the police are hurting, the people are hurting, I think everybody needs to learn how to start to respect each other," said Zack.

Oakland resident Andrei Pasternak watched the group from his bus stop on his way home and supports the basic idea of the occupy wall street movement, but wonders about the focus.

"I think the message is kind of all over the place in some ways, but I think that's part of the message, you know that there's not a centrist idea," said Pasternak.

"Enough people are tired. In fact, if this thing doesn't get any better, the economy's not going to get better and no new jobs, so this is what it's going to be about," said Mark Tyme with Occupy Oakland.

But as the movement grows demonstrators may alienating some of the 99 percent they claim to represent.

When asked if City of Oakland economic analyst Tanya Boyce thought that there was a benefit to the protesters occupying the park, she said, "Nope, except for a lot of garbage."

Boyce is concerned about public resources being used to clean up garbage and graffiti at the occupy encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

When asked if protesters sprayed graffiti on the street, Full-time student Jabari Shaw form Occupy Oakland said, "No, of course not."

Shaw denies any claims of protesters defacing public property with spray paint and protesters even helped to clean it up. However, Boyce says they are definitely infringing on open space in Frank Ogawa Plaza which is often used as a playground for children at the Oakland School for the Arts.

"They are usually out here playing and right now they don't have a place to play so," said Boyce.

"I have someone else's kids and I can't risk having them around that many strangers," said Thomas Coleman from Oakland School For the Arts.

So while the kids of protesters play on the square, PE teacher Thomas Coleman is forced to crams 60 of his students into a condominium courtyard for a quick game of dodge ball.

Many people watching this unfold may agree with the message, but they particularly don't like the protests.

"I think it gives a lot of opportunities to the people that want to cause trouble," said city worker Rick Burwen.

The encampment remained fairly quiet Friday night, but there are more events planned for the weekend. On Saturday, the non-profit group MoveOn.org will hold two rallies in Oakland to show their support for the Occupy Oakland movement. An Occupy San Leandro demonstration also took place.

The demonstrations are expected to continue on Saturday in the East Bay. At noon, the Occupy Berkeley group is planning a rally and in Oakland, another march through the Downtown streets is planned for 1 p.m.


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