Occupy Oakland regained its momentum today in multiple actions with visible union support and peaceful, joyous and angry protestors taking to the streets again. As of 6 pm they were celebrating in a liberated vacant lot at 19th and Telegraph to the sounds of hip hop, drumming, dance music and marching bands. Some neighbors in the Uptown development welcomed the arrival with signs of support and danced in their balconies. Police quickly withdrew to the perimeter when the thousands of protestors arrived.
Demonstrators made quick work of the fence, carefully removing children’s artwork and rolling up the chain links. Others took down the NO TRESPASSING signs as souvenirs. One security volunteer quickly inscribed a new sign on the other side (the side made for you and me as Guthrie used to sing) informing police that this was now a no police trespassing zone.
The day began with the planting of a raised bed garden in Oscar Grant Plaza in front of City Hall. A crowd of thousands gathered at 14th and Broadway and as it marched around Lake Merritt swelled to over 5000. Occupy Oakland and labor union allies held a rally at the Lakeview school at Lakeshore and Grand Avenue, one of those the OUSD is closing. The president of the Oakland teachers union addressed the rally from the sound truck which accompanied the march. Students dramatized their plight with a game of Musical Chairs: the names of 30 schools slated for closure adorned classroom chairs–and not enough seats to go around.
The spirited rally then headed back downtown in an fast-paced march with volunteers directing traffic. Drivers and passengers briefly stuck in traffic welcomed the arrival of the demonstrators with honks, victory and peace signs and clenched fist salutes, rolling down windows to take flyers and cheer.
The tone was decidedly upbeat and police wither stayed away or helped redirect traffic. As night fell and a light rain began police remained standing at the perimeter in front of the Fox theater and Uptown developments. No clashes with protestors had occurred as of 6 pm.
UPDATE 1am: people are settled in for the night at camp. At around 10:30, Occupy Oakland’s sound truck was seized by police as it left the new encampment. Police had requested that all amplified sound end at 10:00pm and in respect for the neighborhood the truck packed up and left. It was quickly detained by police who cited anti-side show laws as the grounds for impounding it. Police in riot gear were deployed on MLK to clear a crowd trying to block the police from taking the vehicle. No arrests thus far.
Update: 8-10 am Nov 20. Police moved in and cleared out the encampment
photos courtesy of indybay