OPD shuts down two Occupy Oakland encampments, no arrests

via Oakland Local

Well, that didn’t last long.

Early Sunday morning, Oakland police removed a small group of Occupiers who had set up tents and spent the night at a vacant lot at 19th Street and Telegraph, in the Uptown district, next to Henry J. Kaiser Park. The raid began around 8 a.m.

Within half an hour, the encampment had been cleared. About 20 campers were asked to leave and complied, OPD spokesperson Johnna Watson said.

“We don’t want a confrontation, we just want them to remove their tents,” Watson added.

There were no arrests.

Overnight Sunday, encampment “residents” at Snow Park – who had been there off and on for weeks – also were asked by OPD to leave and complied. The latest closure was met with no opposition or incident.

Back near Kaiser Park, about 40 demonstrators milled about around 9:30 a.m. Sunday as a line of officers in riot helmets and rain gear maintained a line at the intersection of 19th and Rashida Mohammad streets. Some of the demonstrators chanted slogans. Others attempted to engage in dialogue with police. One woman sang to the officers, who remained mostly stoic, occasionally cracking smiles. At one point, a photographer asked police to pose in front of a sculpture depicting Gandhi. No one took him up on the offer.

Behind the police line, Department of Public Works cleaning crews removed debris from the short-lived encampment, which reportedly was very unpopular with residents of the Uptown apartment complex.

The swift removal of the encampment represented somewhat of a public-relations victory for OPD, who had been widely criticized for excessive use of force during earlier raids, which included the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. This time, OPD kept their composure and maintained professionalism.

Demonstrators seemed unsure what their next steps would be after it became apparent that they would not be permitted to keep the Uptown encampment. Many of the campers relocated to the Snow Park location, which had about 20 tents as of Friday afternoon – but their time at the park near Lake Merritt was short spent as OPD moved in and shut down the city’s last Occupy encampment Sunday evening.

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