Oakland demonstrators worry about police crackdown

Police seem determined not to kick out 'Occupy Oakland'
October 25, 2011 1:43:14 AM PDT
Demonstrators in Oakland are getting increasingly worried about police moving in. The "Occupy Oakland" camp sent out an email blast Monday night claiming an Oakland city official tipped them off. They say the informant tells them an eviction raid is highly probable sometime after midnight.

The Oakland occupiers celebrated the camp's 14th day in Frank Ogawa Plaza, knowing it could be their last. Word of an eminent eviction raid is spreading.

"I mean it's definitely more legitimized now that they've had an order to vacate for the past five, six days, but we're still here. We're holding strong," said Ryan, an Oakland occupier.

Off camera, camp leaders tell ABC7 they're preparing to defend the camp. They say a text mob of several hundred is waiting for the text message to respond. But they won't say how they'll respond.

"Personally, I'm going to be at peace, meaning they won't have a fight from me. I will either peacefully leave, or I will peacefully state my peace and be peacefully arrested," said Shake Anderson an Oakland occupier.

At the first aid station, volunteers with medical backgrounds are training others to triage those wounded in a confrontation.

"We have a lot of people on call. If something really starts to happen here they can come in and help us out," said Laurel Pena, an occupier and EMT.

A stock pile of ant-acid is being used to counter-act pepper spray.

"You mix the liquid antacid and water and you put it in a sports bottle. That can be used to wash somebody's eye out," said Pena.

Meanwhile, Oakland city officials have issued at least three warnings, while asking the occupiers to leave Frank Ogawa Plaza.

"Right now, the open flames with the wind and all the dry grass is a concern right now," said Oakland Fire Department Dep. Chief Lisa Baker.

A cease and desist order called for them to dismantle their cooking stoves by 2 p.m. on Monday, but it was ignored. The city has been probing the camp throughout the week.

Also, in recent days, outreach workers visited the camp offering alternatives for those at the camp who are homeless, which is another reason why they think an eviction raid is coming soon.

"We sent in our homeless outreach team, because we recognize there is a homeless population there on the plaza and we need to facilitate shelter, meals, services if they need them," said Karen Boyd from City of Oakland.

A second smaller camp near Lake Merritt appears to have grown since they were ordered to vacate. Snow Park now has about 30 tents.

"I'm aware that we're definitely violating the law by camping here and I appreciate that, but I feel that in violating this law that there's some justification in that we are on a quest to remedy greater wrongs," said Geoff Stephenson, a demonstrator at Snow Park.

There is also a realization that police could move in any time.

When asked if he was surprised police haven't moved in yet, Momo at Snow Park said, "I am sort of surprised, but at the same moment aware because what they do is they cry wolf for a long time, then bam, wolf comes."

The protesters say they are prepared for a confrontation with police. They've held classes at Frank Ogawa Plaza on how to handle a baton or pepper spray attack. They've also consulted with lawyers so they understand their rights in case they are arrested.


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