Occupy Oakland: Police pass out eviction notices
Police on Friday evening entered the Occupy Oakland encampment and handed out formal eviction notices to protesters, whose monthlong demonstration has been marred by on-again, off-again violence.
The notices ordered demonstrators to remove all tents, tarps and cooking equipment and warned that anyone who remained overnight at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza downtown would be subject to arrest.
The notices did not set a deadline for the protesters to leave, and police and city officials did not immediately respond to emails asking how soon they might enforce the order.
Violence erupted Oct. 25 when police moved in to raze the camp, established several weeks ago to protest what demonstrators say is income inequality and corporate greed.
In an effort to placate protesters, Mayor Jean Quan allowed the camp to rebuild, but many remained angry at her administration. Business leaders and the police union were irate that she allowed the camp to flourish again, saying it created uncertainty and economic stress.
On Thursday, a man was shot to death on the edge of the tent city. Oakland police, in a statement released Friday, said witnesses had described the suspected assailant as a "frequent resident" of the encampment.
After the shooting, Quan appealed to protesters to leave voluntarily. "The risks here are too great," she said in a statement released on the city's website. "It’s time for the encampment to end."
Laura Long, an Occupy Oakland supporter, said she expected the core members of the encampment to try to stay as long as they could.
"We're there for a reason," she said. "After the shooting, we were sure the city would use that as an excuse to kick us out."
The Oakland Police Officers Assn., in an open letter, also called on demonstrators to clear the site.
"Please, we ask you: Leave Frank Ogawa Plaza peacefully and immediately so Oakland Police can get back to work fighting the devastating crime that’s occurring in our neighborhoods," the association said in the statement issued Friday. "You have sent the world a strong message; now it is time to go home."
-- Gale Holland
Photo: People walk around the Occupy Oakland encampment in front of City Hall on Friday night. Credit: Reuters