Occupy Oakland demonstrators gathered at Oakland Public Library at 4pm this afternoon -- many participated in protest of the Oakland police and other law enforcement agencies clearing hundreds of demonstrators from the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank H. Ogawa Plaze in downtown Oakland this morning, during which at least 75 people were arrested. Around 6:15 p.m. police declared unlawful assembly; soon after police used tear gas and fired rounds of bean bags to disperse protesters.
The KQED News Staff is signing off for the evening. We'll be back in the morning with the latest developments on KQED Public Radio (listen live online) and right here on News Fix.
Until then, you can keep following events via these sources (although, by the time you're reading this, these folks may have called it a night as well):
Many updates are also coming from the general public through Twitter:
Here is video of police firing tear gas around 8 p.m. tonight:
7:10 p.m. Occupy Oakland demonstrators are continuing their march through downtown Oakland at this hour, narrowly evading confrontations with police over their route and destination.The march began about 5:00 p.m. after a rally at the main branch of the Oakland library.
6:26 p.m. Police just declared unlawful assembly and told people they now have 3 minutes to leave and that chemicals agents will be used. Protesters are sitting down and linking arms at the intersection between 14th and Broadway.
6:16 p.m. Mina Kim reports protesters quickly regrouped after the face-off with riot police and are heading back towards City Hall. People are chanting about going back to "Oscar Grant Plaza."
6:00 p.m. Mina Kim reports that Oakland riot police are now using tear gas and shooting bean bag projectiles. Protesters are over-turning trash cans and dumpsters to deter the police.
5:45 p.m. Mina Kim reports that hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters are now marching toward the Oakland Police Department. Riot police blocked them on 8th and Broadway, causing the protesters to head west down 8th Street.
4:50 p.m. KQED's Mina Kim reports that hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters are gathering at the Oakland Public Library and plan to reoccupy the Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Mina Kim reports on the scene:
There are hundreds of people here young and old. People who were camped out on Frank Ogawa Plaza, people who came today just because they're outraged by police action and were not one of the Occupy protesters.
SEIU Local 616 is here, a long term care workers union which is a diverse mix of mostly Asian-American and older workers. So there are just a massive number of people here. They're chanting, they're giving updates on the people who were arrested and they're talking about where to go from here.
3:50 p.m. KQED's Mina Kim reports that about a hundred Occupy Oakland demonstrators have gathered on the steps of the Oakland Public Library at 14th Street and Madison.
3:06 p.m. On KQED Radio's Forum show today, a man who said he is an Oakland resident who witnessed the police moving in early this morning gave his account of what happened. Listen here; an edited transcript is below the audio:
Joshua Daniel, Oakland resident who says he was a witness to the police action this morning
I live just a few blocks away from Ogawa plaza. I woke up purely by chance in the middle of the night and checked my Twitter feed and saw a lot of noise about an imminent police raid. I walked down to Ogawa plaza. It was really quiet, there were a lot of press set up and the protesters were making a makeshift barricade.
It was really quiet till right around 4:30 a.m. and in an instant a swarm of police cars came into the area, hundreds of them. They were in full riot gear, had batons, shotguns, and they all assembled very quickly and made their way to the camp. I tried to take a few pictures and was forcefully pushed back by one of them. It was made clear to me that if I got close to their line I was going to be arrested.
They formed a bunch of concentric circles of police and started moving in on the camp grounds. There were probably five or six lines of police, literally hundreds of police, and helicopters circling the area with a spotlight shining down.
Then officers started putting on gas masks and they said several times they were going to be moving in on the camp and that they would be dispersing -- I think they said -- chemical agents.
I would say between the time they gave the warning that they would be moving in and that people would need to vacate and the time that they actually set off the flash grenade and tear gas was actually just a matter of minutes, maybe three or four minutes.
2:50 p.m. From the Bay City News Datebook:
Organizers of "Occupy Oakland" said protesters will reconvene this afternoon in the wake of a police raid that broke up their encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza early this morning.
The group will gather at 4 p.m. at 14th and Madison streets.
1:11 p.m. The city has started to clean Frank Ogawa Plaza, KQED's Caitlin Esch reports.
12:27 p.m. The Daily Cal reports the office of Berkeley's City Manager has ordered Occupy Berkeley protesters to cease camping overnight at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park. Here's the notice, signed by Jim Hynes, Assistant to the City Manager.
10:10 a.m. KQED's Caitlin Esch reports from the city's press conference:
Police have processed 75 arrestees and the number is climbing.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers were involved from 16 different agencies around the area.
Police say they gave campers the opportunity to leave around 4:30 a.m. Interim Chief Howard Jordan said about 30 people left, then officers moved in and made arrests.
Police say they used tear gas canisters and fired rounds of bean bags, not rubber bullets, as has been reported, after protesters threw bottles at officers.
As soon as the plaza is cleaned, protesters will be allowed to gather between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but not allowed to stay overnight. As of now, no one is allowed in because it's sort of a "wreck," says Caitlin Esch. "Tents are flattened and strewn about, straw and debris and pieces of wood, signs, water bottles, food, containers are all over the place. Blankets. I see a bra..." No timeline yet on when the area will be cleaned.
10:02 a.m. Live now on KQED Radio 88.5's Forum show, the action against Occupy Oakland is discussed. Listen live.
9:50 a.m. Here's a personal account by a videographer who says he was pushed to the ground by a police officer and eventually tear gassed.
I found a commanding officer and told him what had happened. He went to get an officer to help me file a complaint. As I stood there, I noticed all the mainstream media trucks packing it in. I asked another officer if it was OK if I was there. She showed me where media was allowed to stand, so I joined a small group of independent media like myself.
Next thing I knew, we were tear-gassed. That explains why the TV trucks left, and explains why they grouped us together.
Guess what folks? Tear gas f**** sucks. It hurts, it stings, it is nothing you want to experience. Of course, this made all of us alternative press folks run away from the tear gas. After that, the police refused to let any of us go back into the camp. Maybe if you had a press badge, but we know what happened to most of those people.
Here's his video:
9:40 a.m. Oakland North is attending the Oakland press conference and is tweeting.
9:25 a.m. Caitlin Esch reports at 8:50 a.m. on what's happening on the ground at Frank Ogawa Plaza and at Snow Park...
"Up until a few minutes ago the park was completely surrounded by police officers, you couldn't get into the park. There were a handful of protesters inside the park; they were arrested. Now the park is empty, police are surrounding it but they are letting people through.
"I spoke to a protester at Frank Ogawa. She was there in solidarity, she wasn't camping out. She said it was pretty scary. They came in at 4:30 and cleared everybody out. She said they were told they had five minutes to clear out, and she thought that before five minutes the police came in and started removing people. She thought it was overkill.
"There was a splinter group of protesters cruising around the city, overturning garbage cans and dumpsters, trying to block police from following them. Police on motorcycles were pursuing them around 17th and Broadway. It seems to me now that everyone has broken up. It doesn't seem like there's any organized protest continuing."
...(S)ome 400 police officers swept into the encampment. There were about 70 arrests, according to early reports. City workers are now sifting through piles of belongings left in the 150-tent camp,which had swelled to hundreds of people. Police began to move on a smaller Occupy encampment at Snow Park around 6:30 a.m.
8:50 a.m.YouTube video of the high-tension scene early in the morning, and a confrontation between police and the videographer.
8:41 a.m. From the City of Oakland:
City of Oakland Officials Assess Frank Ogawa Plaza Following Enforcement Activities
Media Briefing Scheduled for 9:00 am
City officials are conducting a walk-through of Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning to assess the condition of the Plaza and downtown following the enforcement activities related to the Occupy Oakland demonstration.
The City anticipates releasing updated advice to downtown employers and City employees by 9 am to address the earlier advisory to consider delaying the start of the work day. Officials will be available for a media briefing this morning at 9 am.
Current road closures:
Clay Street between 12th and 14th streets
Broadway between 12th and 14th streets
Many Oaklanders support the goals of the national Occupy Wall Street movement. We maintained daily communication with the protest0rs in Oakland.
However, over the last week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the City could maintain safe or sanitary conditions, or control the ongoing vandalism. Frank Ogawa Plaza will continue to be open as a free speech area from 6 am to 10 pm.
We want to thank the police, fire, public works and other employees who worked over the last week to peacefully close the encampment. We also thank the majority of the protestors who peacefully complied with city officials.
I commend Chief Jordan for a generally peaceful resolution to a situation that deteriorated and concerned our community. His leadership was critical in the successful execution of this operation. City Administrator Deanna Santana developed the plan and secured mutual aid from other departments and the State of California. She will direct departmental teams, including safety, public works, communications, to restore conditions at the Plaza so that it is available for public use.
The City welcomes all Oaklanders to continue to use the Plaza during daylight hours for peaceful protest.