Protests held in Oakland over mayor's new ban on nighttime marches

Byby Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, May 25, 2015
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There is outrage on the streets of Oakland over Mayor Libby Schaaf's new law cracking down on nighttime marches held without a permit.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- There is outrage on the streets of Oakland over Mayor Libby Schaaf's new law that bans nighttime marches in an effort to prevent vandalism.

Activists say they plan to defy the order.

Cat Brooks was in the middle of Saturday night's protest in Oakland and called it an act of defiance. "It was absolutely in defiance of the new sundown law in Oakland," she said.

Over 100 demonstrators marched peacefully near the Oakland Police Department station Saturday night in defiance of Schaaf's new policy to crackdown on nighttime marches without a permit.

The group was blocked by a row of police who dispersed the crowd with flash bangs. Those who refused to leave were arrested or cited by police. "People are outraged. They were outraged last night, they're outraged today," Brooks said.

Brooks says Schaaf has no right to keep protestors off the streets at night. "She ran to govern a town that celebrates resistance and celebrates protests and celebrates social justice. She doesn't get to come in and crush it," she said.

Schaaf has been under pressure by Oakland business owners to protect their property from destruction and vandalism. Some demonstrators shattered windows on May Day.

The mayor's office released a statement saying: "There has been no change to any city policy designed to prohibit peaceful protests, but we are making better use of existing policies and laws to prevent vandalism and violence."

Civil Rights attorney Rachel Lederman who helped Oakland create a crowd control policy calls the new tact unlawful. "The police have really drastically changed their policy in the last few nights and this actually violates a federal court order and we're going to be seeking a reverse of that," she said.

Small business owner Will Kreber supports free speech and says the vandalism must stop. "My heart goes out to banks and a lot of the shops that get hit and are privately owned. People who are doing this damage don't even know the neighborhood" he said.

Activists say the nighttime marches will continue and in fact some are calling for rolling marches every night.