Police cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment early Monday morning in what has so far been a peaceful raid.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street overnight in anticipation of the eviction, and of many tents remained in the camp when lines of police in riot gear began moving in.
However, dozens of occupiers had moved their tents out of the plaza as the city issued repeated eviction notices over the weekend, and rumors of an early morning raid intensified.
“It feels pretty sad because we built a community here, and now they can just come and destroy it,” said Lara Bitar, 28, who helped collapse three of the camp’s four tents early Monday morning. “At the same time, this movement is about more than just the space here.”
Protesters began pouring into the street in front of the camp Monday morning while Oakland police assembled at the Coliseum and mutual aid forces from cities such as Fremont and Hayward staged along Franklin Street.
An email from an unknown source that circulated among campers Sunday advised peaceful protesters to stand down during the raid and warned, “Expect to see overwhelming use of force by police directed to occupiers who refuse to comply.”
Many feared a repetition of the nighttime clashes that followed an early morning takedown of the camp on Oct. 25. But this action has so far remained peaceful, with police clearing tents and protesters engaged in civil disobedience submitting to arrest.
Naturally, the freaks declare they aren’t going anywhere. Losing sucks, huh?
Boots Riley, a longtime protester at the camp, said, “Whatever they do, they’re going to just make us keep going. They’re in a lose-lose situation. The camp is not going to go away.”
Others, like Andre Little, 38, an artist, said he would go to another city park tonight “but I’ll come back.”
Luke Glassy, 19, said he would be in the camp when police arrive. “I’m going to jail tonight. With pleasure,” he said.
Paul Bloom, 64, of San Francisco also said he was prepared to be arrested.
“It’s sad that the forces that be don’t know this is such a powerful movement,” Bloom said. “The movement will continue and will return.” He was later arrested.
Rodrigo Gomez, 19, and Sage Conary, 19, have barricaded their tent with a couch and chairs.
But Ronald “Rasta” Jones had already abandoned his tent this morning. “We’re going to make the job easy for them. I can’t go to jail,” Jones said, adding however, “If they take over the camp, we’re going to reoccupy. Our objective is for them to keep spending money. We are not going to stop.”