Call this Round 2 for Occupy Oakland. At 4:30 am PT today, the Oakland police began clearing Frank Ogawa plaza after the city published four eviction notices over the last few days. So far, KTVU reports 20 arrests, but no particularly violent response — yet:
Riot-clad Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies began removing tents from the Occupy Oakland encampment early Monday, executing eviction notices that had been given to protesters over the weekend.
While the deputies descended onto the camp, hundreds of other officers were surrounding the area. At least 20 people have been arrested.
Tension in has been building since Sunday night when police issued a fourth cease and desist order telling demonstrators they couldn’t camp in the plaza. The order said the protesters faced immediate arrest.
Helmet-wearing officers from Oakland and several other San Francisco Bay area cities encircled the encampment at about 4:30 a.m. PST. Some held long sticks while others clutched white zip-ties.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the lack of violence may be part of a new strategy of flexibility:
About 6 a.m., police began arresting protesters at an “interfaith tent” on the plaza, 40 minutes after police issued an order to disperse. They sang “We Shall Overcome” as they were handcuffed. Other officers have begun clearing out tents on the plaza and have set up metal barricades at the corner.
The bulk of the protesters were outside the camp, milling about at 14th and Broadway, where some danced a few feet from police while others marched in a circle. A number of protesters are wearing bandanas, gas masks and goggles.
Shon Kae, 30, of San Francisco said protesters have separated themselves into two group, one to defend the tent city, the other to protest as police move in. …
Boots Riley, a longtime protester at the camp, said, “Whatever they do, they’re going to just make us keep going. They’re in a lose-lose situation. The camp is not going to go away.”
ABC has non-shareable live-feed video at this link, and a little more detail:
Police have begun arresting people remaining in Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning, and are in the process of dismantling what remains of the Occupy Oakland camp that has occupied the space for most of the last month.
Police blocked off the plaza shortly before 6 a.m. today with lines of riot police. Most protesters had already moved into the street at 14th Street and Broadway before police arrived.
Protesters continue to play music and chant, and have not been ordered to disperse yet, according to live video accounts by protesters.
“We’ve got the power, people power” protesters chanted as arrestees were led out of Frank Ogawa Plaza.
The local ABC affiliate doesn’t have a link to this story yet, but Mayor Jean Quan’s legal adviser Dan Siegel has resigned as a result of today’s raid.
We’ll have more as the story develops.