Oakland occupiers vow to fight back against police raid

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The Occupy Oakland encampment, which was established Oct. 10 in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza, was dismantled by police in an early morning raid on Oct. 25. The city of Oakland had issued eviction notices over the last several days, and sent a strongly worded notice the night of Oct. 24.

Police in full force descended upon the city park -- christened Oscar Grant Plaza by the activists -- at 4 a.m., clad in riot gear. They moved in swiftly, deployed teargas, and made mass arrests.

As of noon on Oct. 24, Frank Ogawa Plaza was still blocked off, with the remnants of the camp still scattered in the square. Oakland City Hall was closed to all but city employees.

Occupy Oakland protesters planned to respond to the raid with an emergency demonstration against police repression, scheduled to be held Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. at the Oakland library on 14th and Madison.

"Occupy Oakland is not finished, it has only begun," a media statement from the occupiers said. "Our numbers will be larger than ever." The statement also noted, "Occupy Oakland urges people to contact Oakland's mayor and tell her what you think of her actions."

Sue Piper, Special Assistant to Mayor Jean Quan, rejected the idea that the order had come from Quan alone. "It was a team effort," Piper said. "We have the mayor, the City Administrator, the police chief, and the fire chief. The decision was made by that team to do it early this morning."

Piper said the raid was carried out because "the people who were camping out were contributing to a health and safety issue."

Asked how the city would respond to concerns that this appeared to be a crackdown on freedom of speech, Piper said protesters had the to right to assemble in public parks between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"They cannot occupy our parks," she said.

For an in-depth account of what it was like inside the camp at Occupy Oakland, pick up tomorrow's issue of the Guardian.

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