'Stand Up For Oakland' group denounces Occupy violence

'Stand For Oakland' group denounces Occupy violence

February 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Dozens of Occupy Oakland demonstrators filled downtown Monday afternoon as part of the group's "Day of Action." There were a couple of scuffles with police, but some of the most vocal opposition the protesters are facing comes from Oakland residents and business owners.

The scuffles, if you will, had nothing to do with the march that happened Monday afternoon, but actually with the police confiscating a sound system from the Occupy demonstrators. Before that, Occupy went face to face with a group calling itself "Stand Up For Oakland."

"We want people to stand up and not be afraid to come down to Frank Ogawa Plaza," said Angela Haller with Stand Up for Oakland.

What was billed as a silent demonstration by a group calling itself Stand Up For Oakland, quickly turned into a shouting match between those on the steps and Occupy demonstrators.

"You had your Occupy time, you've had your voice," said one Stand Up For Oakland protester.

"You stand for the chamber of corporate crime!" shouted an Occupy protester.

"That lawn out there used to be beautiful, you turned it into a mud pile," shouted out a Stand Up For Oakland protester.

Occupy Oakland demonstrators say they're fighting against police oppression. One Occupy Oakland protester shouted towards two police officers, "You need to be called out. Your police department is brutal, it's on the doorstep of federal receivership."

Another man with Stand Up For Oakland said, "We're trying to build our neighborhoods up. You come here and you're tearing our city apart, man."

"I don't understand why Oakland's being picked on. It's not become...the Occupiers have now become the 1 percent as far as I'm concerned," said Linda Pratt from Stand Up For Oakland.

Shake Anderson is with Occupy Oakland. He separates the movement from the tactics used by some demonstrators.

"It's not Occupy Oakland, it's the individual that chose to maybe burn the flag or break that window. I do not necessarily personally agree with that. However, I cannot stop an individual making a decision on how they choose to protest," said Anderson.

Once the confrontation on the steps ended, Occupy demonstrators went on with their rally with the aid of an amplified sound system. According to police, the demonstrators didn't have a permit for the system.

An Oakland police officer said through a bullhorn, "Operation of a sound system without a permit is a violation of the Oakland municipal code."

After several warnings, police moved in, in riot gear to confiscate a system the demonstrators had turned off minutes before.

"There was no permit issued for this particular event. Additionally there were complaints that we received and we have to really recognize everyone's rights," said Oakland Police spokesperson Johnna Watson.

It's not only Oakland residents and business people who are upset, members of the Occupy movement itself are splintering off into their own groups.

"It's been hijacked. There's a group in Oakland that has hijacked Occupy," said Vivian Trotz from the Occupy Bay Area Jewish Contingent.

Trotz, a retired doctor, helped start the Occupy Bay Area Jewish Contingent. It's one of several groups that decided marching is less effective than tapping legal and political channels.

"First of all we felt that it was necessary for us to take the name 'Oakland' out of our official name," said Samuel Trotz with the Occupy Bay Area Jewish Contingent.

These splinter groups are made up of 40 plus professionals and retirees who are organizing forum discussions instead of protests. It's a sign the occupy movement is evolving in its fight for social justice.

The police continue to point out all the resources they're devoting to Occupy events is taking away resources from their crime-fighting efforts in other parts of Oakland. This past week was especially violent in Oakland. Police Chief Howard Jordan is expected to address that at a press conference on Tuesday.

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