Occupy Oakland will begin gathering today at 3:00 p.m. PST outside City Hall on Oscar Grant Plaza in preparation for a march marking the anniversary of their eviction from the park last year. After the announced 7:00 p.m. march, they plan to return to the plaza where they intend to re-establish their encampment.
The announcement urged supporters to bring "tents, warm clothes, shields, a defensive attitude and hella friends."
A few hundred protesters are expected to participate.
The city released a statement Tuesday pledging to protect free-speech rights, while also expressing zero tolerance for overnight camping at the plaza or vandalism, which has marred several prior Occupy protests.
Downtown businesses and restaurants, including frequent vandal targets Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe and Sears, said they would not close early on Thursday. The most notable exception is the Downtown Oakland YMCA, which will close at 6 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.
Sources already in Oakland tell me that there is a very large police presence already today outside the plaza ahead of the Occupy gathering. Hopefully OPD will not continue their policy of placing officers with histories of using deadly force on the frontlines during Occupy Oakland protests.
I'll have a live stream up later, and will update as more information becomes available.