For such a loosely organized group, Occupy Oakland has managed to quickly coordinate a renewed movement after police conducted an early morning raid today on the protesters' camp outside City Hall, which resulted in heavy smoke, dozens of arrests, and lots of chaos.
Within hours after the downtown shake up, the group fired off an e-mail to supporters, warning that protesters were "not finished." The group will reconvene this afternoon to decide what's next for Occupy Oakland -- an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement that started last month to protest "corporate greed."
According to the e-mail:
The police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles. Apparently the media was not allowed in to document this repression, and the police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. The Occupy Oakland movement will reconvene today at 4pm at the Oakland Library on 14th & Madison. Occupy Oakland is not finished, it has only begun. Our numbers will be larger than ever.
Hundreds of cops donning riot gear descended on the Occupy Oakland camp shortly before 5 a.m. today after police had issued several warnings, demanding protesters evacuate the Frank Ogawa Plaza or go to jail.
After the first warning came, protesters appeared ready to defend their territory, attempting to block police from entering the encampment. With helicopters flying above, police tossed "flash-bang" grenades before they stormed the camp and started breaking down tents. It wasn't long before some 70 protesters were hauled off to jail. Police have since barricaded the plaza, and helicopters are still swarming the skies in Oakland.
Protesters have dispersed, but they vowed to keep this movement alive -- even if it isn't on the City Hall plaza.
"This is not going to be an end to our encampment by any stretch," says Kevin Seal, a downtown resident who has been part of Occupy Oakland since it started two weeks ago. "It's now a question of where are we going to be."