Police evict protestors from Lakeview Elementary

July 3, 2012 11:55:48 AM PDT
Protesters are promising to return after police forced them to end a 19 day occupation at Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland. Protesters are upset the school is closing along with others.

About 4 a.m., Oakland police moved into the Lakeview Elementary School campus where they told the occupiers it was time to leave or face arrest.

"Their voices were heard. They are trespassing. We do have a right to the site and to disburse the demonstrators and we needed to do that now in order to continue with preparations for the 2012-13 school year," said School District Spokesman Troy Flint.

Most people left the school without incident, but a school district spokesman says two people refused to leave and were arrested peacefully. According to a number of the people who were inside the building, Joel Velasquez was arrested this morning; he is a parent and vocal leader of the school protest.

One of those who took part in the school occupation described the scene this morning.

"They were surprised, they were kind of scared and then they gave the dispersal order that we needed to leave or else they could use use chemical agents," said protestor Becca Rozo-Marsh.

The protestors have been occupying the Lakeview school since June 15 to protest the planned closure of five Oakland schools. This morning, supporters who had set up tents on the perimeter of the school were also sent packing as were some of their signs. But protestors say this fight is not over yet.

"We are going to fight to improve our schools in Oakland. Stop attacking teachers, stop closing schools and fight for the best possible public education for our kids," said Rozo-Marsh.

According to the school district, 17,000 students have left the district in the past 10 years which is making it difficult to keep some of the schools open.


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