Occupy activists gather to fight stay away orders


The protesters are signaling that they're in it to win it. They're ready to do whatever it takes to fight the stay away orders. Activists gathered outside the Wiley Manuel Courthouse to rally and hold a press conference to explain the legal action they took. They filed a habeas petition to get rid of the stay away order.

It was issued against 12 demonstrators by a judge last month. They have to stay 300 yards away from Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza which is where many of the Occupy protests have taken place. Oakland's district attorney says she's doing this to protect the city from violent activists.

Attorneys for the protesters say they feel like this violate First Amendment rights, but some of the activists say they think it strengthens their cause. "It makes me laugh a little bit," Gricelda Gutierrez says. "It gives me more drive. I must be doing something right if they feel the need to single me out."

"These are blatantly unconstitutional. There is truly no legal justification for what they are doing. So, it's only a matter of time before some judge has the strength to overturn them and follow the law," said criminal defense attorney Kate Hallinan.

When ABC7 News asked for a comment from the district attorney, we were directed to an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle in which District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said, "California courts have long upheld the authority to issue a stay away order as a condition of release from custody. Stay away orders serve a vital community need to keep the peace, avoid further criminal conduct and maintain safety in public spaces." She went on to say, "The decision to issue stay away orders are not entered into lightly."

The Occupy protesters say they will be taking more action and will not be going away. Thursday morning they gathered to talk about future plans including a march on city hall. They say they just feel even more motivated by the stay away orders and will do what they can to get them knocked out.

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