Update (5:10 p.m.): Some 400 protesters took over downtown Oakland, with the crowds extending for more than a city block in anticipation of the president's arrival. SF Weekly writer Chris Roberts was at the scene and tells us that protesters had giant posters emblazoned with the faces of Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag, whose office made the move to shut down Oakland's Harborside pot club.
The protesters are “ask[ing] President Obama to ensure federal enforcement actions are consistent with Attorney General Eric Holder's sworn testimony to Congress” that only organizations who break state law face prosecution, said Stephen DeAngelo, Harborside's CEO.
Check out SF Weekly's slideshow of the rally.
Harborside would be the biggest and highest-profile casualty of the Justice Department's marijuana war, which will have claimed nearly a dozen Bay Area dispensaries by the end of July. In brief comments Monday, DeAngelo said that Harborside did not receive a warning letter from Haag's office like the ones sent to upward of eight San Francisco dispensaries — all of which have closed or plan to close.
“There was no warning,” said DeAngelo, whose landlord, security executive Ana Chretien, must deal with the forfeiture action, and may move to evict Harborside as well. “But we're eager for our day in court.
“The mission is clear,” he contined. “They're going after the most
visible, most politically active players in the movement. They're trying
to silence our voices.”
Some friendly faces from Occupy Oakland also made an appearance: A few bandanna-wearing, black-flag-waving characters from Black Bloc joined the march. Aside from tarrying to pester police posted along the parade route, their participation was without incident.