Police disperse West Oakland Occupy site
on December 28, 2011
Just hours after two Oakland Police Department officers escorted a man who identified himself as a property owner of a plot in West Oakland encamped by members of Occupy Oakland, police raided and disbanded the camp, leading to at least one arrest.
On December 22, occupiers set up camp at a triangular lot at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway, a plot they believed to be owned by the city. But city assessor’s records show that the plot is indeed owned by a number of people, including Brian Collins, Henry Wong and Hemmat and Dokhanchy Associates.
On Wednesday afternoon, a man who identified himself as Ed, and would not give his last name, toured the area with two police officers and said he was the property’s owner.
Police officers returned around 5 p.m. on Wendesday as the occupiers were eating dinner. They gave campers 10 minutes to disperse, according to numerous witness accounts. Shortly thereafter, about 30 police officers entered the property and detained a group of about 25 people.
Most were cited and released for trespassing, although one person was arrested for failing to produce identification, according to several witnesses at the scene.
Debi Mills, a camper at the site who has been homeless for some time, said the camp provided food and security. She had arrived there last Thursday after bouncing around places in Berkeley. “Now we’re moving again,” Mills said. “We’re a nomadic occupation. We will not stop.”
As onlookers yelled at police, officers posted “No Trespassing” signs around the gates of the property, while Ed, the man who had identified himself as an owner of the property, wrapped a chain around the entrance and locked it with a padlock.
After police left the scene, a protester ripped down the “No Trespassing” signs, and the gates were opened in order to allow people to gather tents, food and other materials left inside the property when police told them to disperse.
As this reporter left to file this story, the remaining 30 or so protesters were gathering food and preparing to complete their meal on a public street outside the property.
“Who wants to finish dinner?” yelled one protester, eliciting cheers of approval from the others there.
You can see Oakland North’s complete coverage of Occupy Oakland here.
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