“Occupy Oakland” protesters were given a notice by city officials Thursday to vacate Frank Ogawa Plaza, but the order was not enforced overnight and demonstrators say they don’t plan on leaving.
The encampment, inspired by New York’s “Occupy Wall Street” protests, began with a large rally in the plaza on Oct. 10 and has grown into a miniature city with a series of tarps, tents, shelves and tables, as well as a library, children’s area and makeshift garden.
The notice to vacate, issued by the Oakland city administrator’s office, said, “While demonstrators have a right to peaceful expression, the city has a responsibility to ensure a public health and safety plan during such events,” and “after 10 days, the city can no longer uphold public health and safety.”
City officials said in recent days, camp conditions and occupant behavior have significantly deteriorated, citing fire hazards, increasing violence and threats, the denial of emergency personnel access to treat injured people and public urination and defecation, among other problems.
As a result, the city said that while peaceful daytime assembly will continue to be allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., no tents or overnight camping will be permitted.
But protester Brian Glasscock, 20, who was at the plaza overnight, said this morning that he saw no police coming to enforce the order.
“I didn’t see any,” Glasscock said. “People were definitely worried that the cops were going to come, but resolute that we weren’t going to leave.”
Glasscock said he and other protesters have no plans to abide by the 10 p.m. curfew moving forward.
“We’re taking the space and turning it into something else,” he said. “We’re here to camp for the long haul.”
The new development with the “Occupy Oakland” movement comes as eight of their counterparts in San Jose were arrested for camping outside City Hall.
Police said the decision to remove the “Occupy San Jose” protesters was made by City Manager Debra Figone because of an increasing concern about health and safety issues associated with the encampment.
San Francisco has also enforced a ban on camping in Justin Herman Plaza, where its version of the “Occupy” protests is taking place. A confrontation with police over tents there last Sunday night led to the arrest of five protesters.
The goal of the various protests, which have sprouted up in dozens of cities around the U.S. and world, is to create an ongoing presence in the seats of government and economic power, according to demonstrators.
Protesters cite the economic disparity between the richest 1 percent and the other 99 percent and are calling for increased regulation of banks and Wall Street investment firms, among other demands.