The Albany Patch is doing a kickass job providing up-to-the-minute coverage of this rapidly evolving story.
Bottom line is that the U has a very wordy and oh-so-reasonable statement, the meaning of which is: We’re coming in with teargas and riot batons pretty damn soon.
In their words:
Finally, while we have been extremely patient and afforded numerous opportunities for the occupation to conclude without direct confrontation, we will take what ever steps are necessary to allow research activities to commence by the middle of May. We deeply regret that we have arrived at what appears to be an impasse. It did not need to be this way.
Looks like something’s going to go down there in the next few days for sure.
I’m sure I’ve passed this corner at Marin and San Pablo Ave tens of thousands of times over the years, never gave it a second thought. Now it’s being Occupied.
Just before I got there, the UC police locked the front gate. Nobody can come in now. I had to leave after a while, which is too bad. Evidently there are 100 people outside the gate now as of 5pm, and it looks like things are heating up over there.
The plan was to shut down the GGB. I had to be there for that. I scouted the area for parking, made my plan, decided to be there by 7am. But then the union called off the bridge closure and very few people on Twitter were still calling for a GGB shutdown … in the end I decided to sleep in.
When I got up, the papers were full of news of the trashing of Valencia street by the group attending the pre-party in Dolores Park. It’s pretty ugly. They smashed windows at a lot of the little shops sprouting up in the Mission. Angry at hipsters and Yuppies more than at the 1%. Against “gentrification” I guess. Or just plain vandalism.
As always they’re “not affiliated with Occupy,” but it’s hard not to trace this strain of stupidity right back to the approval of the Diversity of Tactics resolution by the OccupyOakland GA shortly after the November 2 general strike.
And now “Diversity of Tactics” has jumped the bay and trashed Valencia street.
So that leaves me with a choice of where to go next. My plan was to go to Oakland for the 6pm meeting and see what happens after dark — but evidently the cops have ALREADY fired tear gas at around noon today. This is just like #J28. I was planning to go over there after dark but evidently these things now start in broad daylight.
I may still go over to Oakland tonight. I don’t know how dangerous it’s going to be. Both sides seem to be pretty keyed up over there.
This thing last night in the Mission, it’s very disheartening. It’s vandalism, not politics. And stupid vandalism. Trash the financial district, trash Pacific Heights, trash the Marina. It’s still wrong but at least it makes SENSE, you’re against the ruling class.
But to trash the freaking Mission????
Scott Rossi definitely thinks these were provocateurs. I’d trust Scott’s reporting more than anything I read in the Chron.
Regardless, very sad and troubling event. I deplore the trashing of the Mission. This is not what Occupy was supposed to be about.
First, Howard Jordan is a liar. I will never forget the night of October 25, 2011 … standing at 14th & Broadway for hours in the midst of a totally peaceful group of protesters; getting teargassed several times; and then finally getting in my car to go home, turning on the radio, and hearing (then acting) Chief Jordan say that the cops had fired teargas in response to protesters throwing rocks and bottles.
In my exhaustion I was furious. It was a flat out lie. The press reported it and that became the story.
It wasn’t till weeks later that Jordan walked back that story, and that only got reported by one obscure blogger and not picked up by anyone else. Brad, I read it!
Jordan represents all that’s wrong with OPD. Even as he was brand new on the job — on Oct 25th he’d been acting Chief only a week and a half, after the highly competent Chief Batts had resigned, unable to work with Quan — even brand new he instinctively lied, instinctively covered OPD’s ass, instinctively justified the completely UNjustified teargassing of a peaceful crowd of people.
That frosted my ass six month ago.
And now today he comes out and says they’re going to “change” their policies. What bullshit. The entire point is that on Oct25 and at other Occupy events, OPD flagrantly violated their existing policies.
If Jordan said that from now on they were going to FOLLOW their own policies, I might have cut him some slack and taken him at his word.
But when he says they’re going to CHANGE their policies … then I know he’s just posing for the cameras and saying what he thinks people want to hear. As Quan and Santana look on.
Seeing this article brought back all my anger from hearing Chief Jordan lie on the night of Oct25. And I see he’s still lying.
Howard Jordan frosts my ass.
And that triumvirate: Quan, Santana, Jordan. The people of Oakland deserve so much better.
Been away from the blog and from physically attending Occupy protests. Thanks to the streamers I can keep up with what’s been going on. Last night OccupySF took over a vacant building at Turk and Gough. Today the cops moved in, evicted everyone, made about 70 arrests. I showed up after the arrests. A relatively small group of protester faced a line of SFPD. It was a pretty low-key affair as these things go.
At one point a group from the SF Sheriff’s department showed up near the front line. Black uniforms, those heavy-duty shinguards straight out of RoboCop. They organized themselves into some kind of paramilitary maneuver and marched toward the front of the line. The SFPD line parted to allow the Sheriff deputies through. Suddenly the deputies charged into the crowd, physically skirmishing with people and throwing one guy to the ground.
The purpose was evidently to part the crowd to allow a Sheriff’s bus to come through. Pure gratuitous violence. If the cops had just asked the protesters to let the bus through, they would have. It was not a confrontational crowd by any means. This was just a case of the Sheriff inflicting some gratuitous violence for the hell of it.
I guess they’re all pretty stressed these days about the Mirkirimi thing.
SF Sheriff’s dept aka Mirkirimi’s Minions get ready to open a can of whoop-ass
This guy got in the way of the Sheriff’s little display of gratuitous violence
After last night’s excitement, the police cleared out the remaining tents today and posted officers in the park to keep everyone out. They’ve also turned on the sprinklers, reminiscent of “Quan lake,” the 24/7 over-watering of Ogawa/Grant plaza that’s killing the famous Oak tree and drowning the lawn down there.
Anyway tonight a small group of protesters showed up to confront the cops. For whatever reason, Berkeley PD continues to overreact, yelling at people to stay back for no reason. BPD appears poorly trained in crowd control.
Well-known Occupy medic @OaklandElle got arrested, for no particular reason that I could discern. She was just standing there talking to the cops about where she was allowed to stand, and they surrounded her and took her away.
I got a good video clip of her arrest.
Here she is in the back of the patrol car.
After that, the protesters walked around downtown Berkeley for a couple of hours, followed all the way by a pair of BPD patrol cars. It was pretty silly, especially when three cop cars completely blocked Shattuck Ave. for a few moments.
Here, the protesters walk across University Ave. at Shattuck. One of the protesters engages in digital communications with the cops.
[I just got home and wrote all this down while it was fresh in my mind. Times are approximate and please forgive any incoherence]
By the 10pm eviction deadline, most of the campers had left and the remainder were mostly leaving. In the end about 75% of the campers and tents left. For the most part they made a point of cleaning up as they left.
At 11:30 there were a 20 tents or less remaining. Campers sat or stood around in small groups. Some lit a Christmas tree.
A group of 20 or so protesters formed a circle and held hands. That might have been the Solstice ceremony.
Around midnight two protesters were detained for apparently being near the Berkeley police station, which is diagonally across the corner of Center and MLK at the northwest corner of the camp. They were in the same place near the police station where I’d been twenty minutes earlier, photographing an officer watching the protesters from a window. Why’d they detain those two ? Someone told me later the police were targeting these particular individuals for detention. They were brought into the police station, questioned about general things, then released. That caused the greater majority of protesters to gather outside the police station.
A rumor had been going around camp all night that the mayor had said there’d be no raid tonight; but a tv guy we spoke to hadn’t heard that from the city.
Then at 12:30am the cops did something provocative and dumb. They sent a dump truck to the far southeast corner of the park, on Allston up in the direction of Shattuck — the farthest point away from where most of the protesters were gathered at the police station. The cops took down two tents — without any attempt to determine if the tents were occupied, I was told — and sent two or three squad cars, not more than 10 or 15 cops, to protect the dump truck.
The crowd at the police station quickly ran over to the dump truck. As the truck drove away, an angry group of 30 or 40 protesters confronted the police, who were clearly not prepared for a confrontation. I saw one cop frantically yell to his buddies to get in their car and just go. The protesters backed the cops up the street, the cops tried to keep the protesters from advancing. At one point two cops moved quickly on a protester but stopped before initiating physical contact.
The cops jumped into their cars. I saw two patrol cars put it in reverse and high-tail it back up the street (towards Shattuck) going backwards.
This was totally dumb because, having been very tolerant of the camp for weeks; and then having issued the eviction order; 75% of the camp was already gone. And because of all the internal problems at the camp, few of the campers were all that disappointed to see it go.
So the city won. All they had to do was let the remaining campers stay and they’d probably have drifted away by tomorrow. But if they wanted to clear out the camp, they sent way too few officers. Instead, they deliberately took down two tents just to stir everyone up.
Now instead of being calm, everyone was buzzed and full of adrenaline from the skirmish on Allston Way.
Another hour or so went by … the cops had by this time driven the dump truck full of these two tents and other camp belongings … and parked the dump truck right in front of the police station at Center and MLK and left it unguarded. Some protesters went over to the dump truck and started taking back their belongings.
As this was getting going, suddenly about thirty or forty cops literally poured out of the police building. They were running toward the protesters. A skirmish line formed with angry protesters and frightened, hostile cops. The cops were yelling, Get Back! Get Back! The cops were sometimes moving forward and shoving protesters to the ground. The police were hitting people with batons. At the other end of the line I saw the cops advance and push protesters. As I was photographing down the line, cops right in front of me were yelling at me to get back.
I backed off to avoid being shoved by the cops. I backed off well behind the front line of protesters in front of the cops. Suddenly without warning the cops at my end of the line quickly moved forward and shoved the line of protesters back, right into me. I was pushed backward, took two steps back trying to keep my balance, realized I was going down. I fell backwards, hard. Most of the force of my fall was taken by my backback, which probably saved me from injury. I immediately felt a pair of hands under my arms, a guy named Chris from Oakland pulling me up. I was stunned and literally was too confused to try to get up on my own, but Chris helped me up and got me away from the line. He told me later that the guy the cops had pushed into me was on the ground but still resisting, and the cops might soon have been on him and on me too.
Thank you Chris!
The skirmish went on a while longer then at some point the cops retreated, after the dump truck had been driven away.
Then at the far southeast corner on Allston again, three cop cars gathered with their top lights on … for no apparent purpose but to draw protesters away from the police station at Center and MLK. One cop car started spinning donuts right there in Allston Way. It was nuts. Then they peeled off and left. It was like one of those illegal “sideshow” exhibitions that the cops like to bust — but this time it was the cops doing it, right in downtown Berkeley.
The rest of the night was uneventful, just everyone buzzed on adrenaline talking and sharing our experiences.
I’ve been around Berkeley for a long time and what happened tonight was just wrong. The city council had been ultra tolerant of the camp. They issued their eviction order and most of the campers left. In other words the city won without having to do a thing.
So if they were going to send in the cops to clear the rest of the camp, then send in 200 cops and get it done professionally. But why send a dump truck to attack two tents, provoking an angry confrontation; then park the dump truck unguarded on the street, inviting protesters to reclaim their belongings and provoking a violent confrontation?
It was either deliberate harassment and provocation; or just plain stupidity.
Berkeley PD showed bad judgment, bad tactics, bad police work.
Many people were injured by being hit by batons. I was lucky, a little back soreness but no major pulls or bruises. I really think my backback saved me from possible hitting my head or my back on the pavement.
One guy who accepted an offer of medical aid from the cops ended up getting arrested and cited for “obstruction.” He had big welts and cuts all over his chin and he said he’d also been hit in the chest. I guess he was obstructing their fists or sticks with his face. He also had his video camera confiscated for “evidence.”
A lot of other stuff happened tonight … had a lot of good conversations, met some people, did some talking on Jack’s stream (sorry I don’t have the handle right now). That was fun.
Around 4:30am all the media trucks showed up again (they’d been there at 10pm but left before the cop raid). The streamers got the story. The local news is carrying stream coverage and is reporting the complaints of police violence. No statement from BPD as of this writing, 7:30am.
So that’s it. I have pics and vids to go process now … will post later.
Bottom line: At the start of the evening, nobody was all that upset or surprised that the camp was being evicted, and most of the campers left peacefully and cleaned up after themselves. And then BPD by its stupidity or deliberate provocation created a violent skirmish and gave everyone a reason to come back and defend the camp.
Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Thank you Occupy medics. Thank you streamers. Thank you Jack for letting me host big portions of your stream.
And thank you again Chris from the bottom of my heart for that awesome physical rescue.
How about that. I have a clip of me getting knocked on my ass.
Actually I’d been meaning to write about OccupyBerkeley. I was over a couple of times, took a couple of snaps. “Last camp standing” article was in the Chron. It’s reportedly been degenerating … so many calls to the Berkeley PD that it’s embarrassing. And dangerous for the peaceful campers.
The city issued an eviction order for 10pm. We’ll see what happens.
I admit it, I go there to photograph riot cops. I’m bored by meetings.
So last night when I got to the port and heard that the 6pm shift was officially shut down; and that the group was on its way down the road to hold a GA, I went home.
But OPD stood down. Which I think was a good choice. In Seattle the cops used flashbangs and pepper spray. On the other hand I hear the Seattle protesters were pretty rowdy too. In Oakland the protesters were legal and nonviolent and simply walked on public streets.
There were a lot of people. The Chron said 3000, one tv news report had 2000. So all in all it was a good day for OO.
Quan was on tv literally whining and crying about the horrible protesters hurting the city. She’s so weird. Forget about the question of competence. As a human, she’s very weird. Her persona is weird, her verbal delivery.
I have some pics I’ll put up later. Usual stuff, not very dramatic. Turns out there was a huge dance party after the GA. Wish I’d stayed for that. The dance parties are one of the best things about Occupy.
A Reuters article summarizing tomorrow’s port shutdown has it right. Things have been drifting lately. OccupySF evicted from Justin Herman early in the week, and from 101 early this morning.
The 101 raid this morning was strange … no tents. So why’d the city raid them? No legal basis if they let the homeless sleep on the street at night. SFPD continues to operate in bad faith.
Action starts 5:30am tomorrow but I’m not going to do that. I’m planning to show up at the port at around 6pm after keeping an eye on the news all day. If there’s going to be black bloc action downtown I want to be there for that. Or perhaps the whole thing will have fizzled by then. For sure the numbers of supporters have dwindled lately.
Unlike last time on 11/02 when the Oakland cops stood down and only protected the freeway ramps, this time Mayor Quan has said she intends to keep the ports open. So there may well be some cop action … but if that happens, it will happen earlier in the day. So I need to be ready for anything tomorrow … wake up, check Twitter, and get over there if it looks interesting during the day.
Wait I have an idea. I should plan on being at 7th & Maritime at sunset so I can shoot the protesters on the towers against the orange sky.