January 8, 2012

Occupy Oakland held a march on Saturday night, after setting up "symbolic teepees" throughout Oscar Grant Park. You may recall the last raid of their occupation began over a teepee in the park that the protesters actually had a permit for.

I received some emails about arrests earlier, and right now a medic is confirming that earlier in the evening a medic was violently arrested while attempting to treat an injured person. No outside confirmation of this as yet.

Right now, there is - at my best estimate - maybe 100 of the Oakland PD, certainly no more than that. The police seem calm, and are just walking around chatting with each other. Same for the protesters, just chatting.

Occupy Oakland is also calling for people to please attend the hearing for Khali Johnson on Monday, January 9th, who is facing the possibility of life in prison due to the "Three Strikes" law. Khali is facing felony charges, as are a few other Occupy Oakland protesters. There is also a call for more lawyers, and a national defense fund to help fight the numerous outrageous charges being leveled against occupiers.

Update: Okay, he's the "official version of what happened last night, via the San Francisco Chronicle. I'm adding my own notes after certain key portions:

Six people were arrested during a march staged by Occupy Oakland protesters to protest what they called previous police mistreatment of demonstrators.

The showdown Saturday night happened at the corner of Ninth and Washington streets, just blocks from Oakland police headquarters and the scene of an Oct. 25 clash in which protesters had thrown paint at riot officers, prompting police to fire tear gas.

The October 25th clash referred to is the police action that sent Iraq veteran Scott Olsen to the hospital in critical condition. Conflicting reports as to who threw what where and when, but we do know for certain that the tear gas was used, and some sort of canister hit Scott in the head.

Saturday night's arrests took place during a march from Frank Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall to the Oakland Police Department. The event began peacefully as several dozen protesters began walking along Broadway holding a banner reading "F- the police."

Um...well, Oakland has been the scene of some of the most brutal assaults by police officers we've seen during the occupy movement. But, I question the wisdom of the banner, especially with Khali's court hearing coming up tomorrow.

On Saturday night, protesters had hoped to march to Oakland police headquarters, but rows of officers stood outside the entrances, according to an online stream of the incident.

As they approached the police station, officers in riot helmets stopped marchers along Washington Street near Seventh Street, where protesters started a bonfire and some threw bottles at officers from the back of the crowd. During the protest, protesters spray-painted a letter "A" with a circle around it - the symbol for anarchy - on a media van, broke windows at a Starbucks coffee shop and on patrol cars, authorities said.

I didn't see any of the spray painting or window smashing claimed here, at least not on the livestream I was viewing. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean none of it happened.

Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland police spokeswoman, said six people were arrested for a variety of offenses, including assaulting officers, resisting arrest and vandalism. One protester was carrying a quarter stick of dynamite and was booked for possession of an explosive device, Watson said.

There are some probable felony charges here, which are increasing at various occupy locations in the nation.

Protesters said officers failed to give a dispersal order before chasing them down and beating some of them.

We've heard this complain many times over now.

"Members of Occupy Oakland call on the city and the district attorney to release political prisoners who have been thrown in prison, and who are accused of crimes no more severe than sitting peacefully in a public space," organizers said in a statement.

I'm tracking down video of the events on Saturday, and here is video of the attempts to enter City Hall. I'm sure there will be more video footage rolling in during the day, and I'll update you with anything that sheds some light on exactly what happened - or didn't happen - in Oakland.

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