Back from Re-Occupy.
Long day. Lots of pics and vids. Need to get to it …
Very short version:
OO reoccupied at 19/tele. But it’s a residential nbd and neighbors opposed. OO marched for three hours then showed up en mass, tore down the fence, brought in a sound truck, had a party, and put up 30 or more tents.
I found myself opposed to the action. They were very inconsiderate to the neighborhood. A lot of bystanders I talked to felt the same way.
Probably one or two days at the most before the riot squad shows up. Inconceivable for the city to let this stand.
Went to SF. 101 had a visit from DPW but locked arms and prevented DPW from taking down tents. Cops weren’t present in numbers. Interesting tactic.
At JH, DPW told them to clear the lawn area closest to Embarcadero.
Ok pics later.
Sun 11:50am update
SFPD took down 101 at 2am. OPD took town 19/Tele at 8am.
5:15 am • 20 November 2011
Update: OO Reoccupation is a go
Late Friday night, 17 Nov 2011
I’m told that a resolution to NOT attempt to re-occupy at 19th & Telegraph failed the OccupyOakland General Assembly tonight by getting only 56% of the 90% needed.
So … why wasn’t the resolution to re-occupy? Then only 44% would have voted for it.
Pardon me for saying this … but what kind of crazy system is that? 44% of the group wants to do something that’s going to alienate the city government and the local populace; and it passes because of the way the resolution was worded.
Didn’t they learn anything last time? Poor Mayor Quan!
No matter. I’ve got my spray bottle of Maalox and water and I’m ready for the next round of teargas.
5:00 am • 19 November 2011
Quick update of the facts on the ground
Fri evening, 17 Nov 2011
In SF, the city took a hard line this week, raiding the new “bridge” tents at 1 Market [meaning that they were bridging the space between the two existing camps]; demanding that the 101 Market encampment be disbanded; and accusing the Justin Herman camp of all sorts of health code and sanitary violations.
It looked like a raid for sure last night, but instead no raid happened. The 101 camp is still there, where its been from almost the beginning. (The original OccupySF camp was at 555 California, long forgotten). And the Justin Herman camp is vastly cleaned up. The bocce ball courts are cleared of tents, and there are walkways previously obstructed that are now clear.
Today Mayor Ed Lee’s rhetoric softened. He said, quite correctly, that if you bust the camp but don’t have a long term solution, then the camp just comes back angrier. So perhaps he’s learned something from his three prior raids on the camp. Haven’t seen such sensible talk from Lee prior to this, so perhaps this is the season of miracles after all.
For the moment, both 101 and JH appear to be safe. But I’ll be checking #OccupySF late at night anyway, because when the riot squad shows up I want to be there. And the police love the element of surprise, so you can never rule anything out.
Over in Oakland, things are getting interesting again. It’s been quiet since the November 15 raid that cleared out Ogawa/Grant plaza. OccupyOakland has a rally planned at 2pm tomorrow (Sat Nov 18) followed by establishing a new camp in an empty lot at 19th and Telegraph.
Today the neighbors over there objected. I saw one woman on tv saying, “I don’t want my kids to get gassed.” Tell it to the Chief of Police! But I can see it from her point of view. A lot of the neighbors said they support the protesters but don’t want the police confrontations on their doorstep.
One protestor was quoted as saying that the businesses in the area of 19th and Tele are “the enemy.” That’s the kind of naive and childish rhetoric I don’t support. It’s those businesses that have revitalized that particular area over the past ten years. It used to be a wasteland, now it’s a place people can go.
Business — economic transactions freely engaged in for mutual benefit among people — is a GOOD thing. I truly wish the Occupy movement would get that. Corrupt, evil, oligarchical control of our government is an evil thing that we are all fighting. Wish Occupy would learn to make some distinctions. Smash capitalism? Capitalism is what puts food on the table and smartphones in your hand.
There’s been an increased OPD presence in the area, and a No Trespassing sign has gone up at the lot targeted as the next home of OccupyOakland. I’ll be down there tomorrow at 2pm. I don’t want to miss this. My biggest fear was that SFPD would raid tonight and keep me up all night again. But that doesn’t look likely, so I’ll be well rested for the action in Oaktown tomorrow.
In other news I’m trying out a new hosting service. Picasaweb is very limited in its features. SmugMug looks very nice. Here are a couple of SmugMug embeds from last night’s dance party and non-raid. Same Tumblr hassle … go to service, get an embed link, paste the link into Tumblr’s edit window in HTML mode. In Wordpress the clickthru link is automatic. But I’ve had this convo with myself before. I’m committed to Tumblr so that’s that.
Veteran for peace. These guys always show up, both sides of the Bay. I thank them for their service … over there, and over here
The famous bocce ball courts have been cleared. Bocce-pie!
At the Occupy dance party
The Bay bridge from the Embarcadero
And a gallery link:
More photos from the same evening …
9:27 pm • 18 November 2011
SFPD mini-raid on OccupySF 1am Wed 11/16
Wed morning, 16 Nov 2011
Spent the evening shooting OccupyCal, OccupyOakland (the remains of the former camp), and a quiet, pleasant evening at OccupySF. Was home processing images and writing some blog copy. At about 1:30am my cellphone pings me … I’m on the Bayaction 41411 list. Says OccupySF is getting raided. I grab my gear and head back up to the city.
I get there at 2:30am. Entering from the south along Steuart St it’s immediately apparent that the camp has seriously thinned out. When I was there just a few hours earlier, the camp was very dense. Every available space had been filled in with a tent. Now all the new tents were gone. There were easily only half the tents standing that I’d seen just a few hours ago.
Most of the people were gone too. All the people sitting around talking or hanging out were gone. A small group — easily less than 100, maybe smaller than that — remained in camp, gathered at the foot of Market St.
I walked up Market St. SFPD officers were deployed behind the metal barricades I’d photographed earlier all along the south side of Market. The new tents — the ones in front of 1 Market and BofA — were gone.
I noted no riot shields, no weaponry other than the standard street cop issue. They wore riot helmets but that was it.
Wandering up Market St. I made eye contact and nodded hello as appropriate. They seemed reasonably interactive in terms of willingness to make eye contact and return my greeting, which is always a good sign. I said hello to a sergeant. He asked me, sort of wonderingly … “You’re not with them, are you?” [I should mention, I’m a bit older than the average camp dweller.] I said I was an amateur photographer and that I’d been following the protests since the beginning. We chatted. We seemed to have a rapport. I knew it was none of my business but at a moment that felt right I casually asked … “I was wondering … are you guys taking the camp tonight?”
And he said, just as matter of factly … “You won’t miss anything if you go home.” Just like that, he shared with me that they were not taking the camp.
To me it made perfect sense. The new tents got taken down. They were outside the bounds of the fragile truce between the city and the protesters. They have 101 (outside the Fed) and they have Justin Herman, but adding new tents to connect the two existing camps was not going to happen.
The protesters were very concerned that Justin Herman was going to be raided. But most of the campers have gone anyway. Will they be back? Tune in tomorrow. Never a dull moment lately.
A little later I’m up by BofA. A pro reporter is interviewing someone who seems to being command.
Reporter: Any arrests?
Commander: Seven detained.
Reporter: Detained? As in …
Commander: They’ll be cited and released.
Meaning nobody’s overreacting about anything. The new tents had to come down so they did. The cops were just going to hang out and keep the peace for a while longer. But the protesters didn’t know that. And even if they did, they wouldn’t believe it.
Then suddenly about 40 or so protesters came marching up Market St. And I’m thinking all they have to do is go to bed. But they were looking to annoy the cops. Some of them read statements to the cops or yelled at the cops about this or that. One woman earnestly explained — through a loud bullhorn — the workings of the Federal Reserve, as a captive audience of bemused and/or annoyed officers stood there with no choice but to listen.
The marchers arrived at BofA. Suddenly what had been a casual group of reporters and me being briefed by the commander, turned into a group of protesters getting in the faces of a line of cops. From zero to tense within about 30 seconds.
The protesters were yelling at the cops and the cops were not happy and it seemed to me that it was the protesters about to provoke trouble and something bad was about to happen.
But suddenly the protesters turned on their music system and started dancing. They have a cart on wheels carrying a few car batteries, which they charge by a bicycle generator; a big fat power amp; and a huge booming speaker. I love their technology. So they had a mini-dance party for a while in front of a line of cops.
Then the music stopped … the kids turned south back towards Justin Herman … and marched back down Market. I went with them. They got back to camp at the foot of Market, cranked up the music system, and had an enthusiastic Occupy dance party.
I stayed with them a while taking video and stills. When they took a break from dancing I walked back up Market. Most of the cops had gone home, just a skeleton crew remained to keep an eye on things.
I went home around 3:45am.
Pics soon …
[NOTE: I don’t mean to minimize the raid on the new tents, which I didn’t witness, and which I understand was executed with the usual unpleasant SFPD raid tactics. I’ve seen SFPD in action, and they can be overly aggressive. Protesters have a right to be upset. And after what’s gone on in Oakland and around the country — probably orchestrated by the Feds — it’s perfectly sensible to imagine the worst.]
At least we know who they’re protectingFrom OccupySF mini-raid 16Nov2011
Chanting in front of the police lineFrom OccupySF mini-raid 16Nov2011
Dancing down Market Street at 3:18 am
From OccupySF mini-raid 16Nov2011
More pics …
8:07 am • 16 November 2011
Traces of OccupyOakland at Ogawa/Grant plaza tonight
Tuesday night, 15Nov2011
This evening I swung by Sproul plaza at around 6pm or so. A big crowd but I was there during General Assembly. Forgive me but I just don’t like meetings. I stayed a while and took some photos but it was pretty clear nothing dramatic was going to happen so I left.
I did miss Robert Reich and later on the GA voted to set up an encampment. I believe they may have put up a couple or a few tents. And the crowd evidently got even larger than when I was there. But I didn’t stick around that long. I’ll go back tomorrow to see how that develops … especially since the Regents cancelled their meeting in SF. Guess a little free speech is the last thing the Regents of the University of California want to encounter.
I was going to go back to SF and check out Justin Herman, but as long as I was in the east bay I wanted to see what was left of the OccupyOakland camp. I’m glad I went. It was so strange. And sad. I saw everything that was no longer there. I took photos of things only my mind could see. A scrap of paper that used to be a photo of Oscar Grant. An empty lawn. A shrine to the man who was murdered, whose name might have been Alex. But the shrine’s not there any more.
Images whose meaning comes entirely from what’s gone.
The city just made it all disappear. But there are traces, here and there. Traces of what was; seeds of what might be.
It’s all goneFrom OccupyOakland post raid 15Nov2011
Scott Olsen’s lamp post is still there
From OccupyOakland post raid 15Nov2011
Someone put up some new tents … in sidewalk chalkFrom OccupyOakland post raid 15Nov2011
More pics …
4:46 am • 16 November 2011
A peaceful raid. Cops used their brains for a change, did a good job doing a bad deed
One of the functions of the Occupy movement is to shine a light on the priorities and tactics of city governments and their police agencies.
This morning the city of Oakland spent $300k-$500k taking down about 100 tents. I daresay they didn’t spend anywhere near that kind of sum a couple of months ago when a three year old child was shot to death at 65th Ave. and International Blvd. That tells us something, if we’re listening.
Tents, bad. Errant bullets that hit todders? Those are bad too, but we’re not going spend half a mil on preventing it from happening again.
In Chapel Hill, NC, eight unarmed people occupied a building that had been abandoned for ten years. The city sent in a 25-person commando team and had reporters lying on the ground at gunpoint. “The town has an obligation to the property owners, and the town will enforce those rights,” Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said in a prepared statement.
Ok! Now we know what gets their blood up in Chapel Hill.
All across the country a few street kids put up some tents; and city governments call in the riot squad. Why? Are the authorities so insecure that the slightest nudge to the status quo gets them to lobbing teargas? All that Homeland Security hardware and nobody to aim it at? Why tents? What is it about tents that’s setting normally sane, sober municipal drones frothing at the mouth from coast to coast?
Questions that I hope will be asked again as this all progresses.
This morning’s raid was peaceful. When I got there the air was thick with tension. We all expected the riot cops to come in with flashbangs, teargas, and nightsticks.
In the end, the cops did something that surprised everyone. They came in with a thoughtful, effective tactical plan. They first surrounded the general area. Anyone who wanted to leave, could. But nobody could come in; and once people left, they couldn’t get back in.
Then then marched lines of cops up key streets to keep the crowd controlled at 14th & Broadway. They surrounded the inner plaza where the tents were, enclosing the campers within and the protesters outside of the line.
Outside, they let the protesters protest. No teargas or threats. No dispersal order. The police even seemed a little more laid back. They responded verbally when politely addressed.
Inside the camp, police went from tent to tent. They gave each camper a choice to leave or be peacefully arrested.
They cleared the camp. It was peaceful. It was effective police procedure. Something I hadn’t seen before down there.
I can honestly say that I deplore the eviction; but I admire the police tactics.
So now what? Story has it that Oakland has budget for three days worth of riot cops. So the protesters might be back camping by Thursday. Or maybe not.
The crowd was thin last night. Maybe 500 or less at 14th & Broadway. Why? I believe it’s because the General Assembly failed to pass a resolution condemning the violence of 11/02; and just yesterday evening, they tabled a proposal to renounce violence.
They were discussing a proposal that included supporting “a variety of tactics,” and that said all dissent or disagreement should be kept internal; and that nobody should express any disagreement with any tactics to the media.
I believe that a lot of the people who would normally show up to support OccupyOakland were taken aback by that. It’s one thing to peacefully speak truth to power. It’s quite another thing to show up to support people who won’t even condemn violence and vandalism.
Will the group’s inability to condemn violence take the air out of the re-occupation effort? Stay tuned.
Members of the Interfaith Coalition sit inside their sacred circle, vowing to hold their ground no matter what. Everyone in the group was arrestedFrom OccupyOakland Dawn Raid 13Nov2011
A woman protester stands opposite an officer, trying to get him to look at her and smile. He worked hard at not doing thatFrom OccupyOakland Dawn Raid 13Nov2011
The OccupyOakland camp, wrecked. Hope the Chamber of Commerce is happyFrom OccupyOakland Dawn Raid 13Nov2011
More pics. I have some vids too but they take me forever to process. It’s 3pm already … I’m going to get some sleep and see what’s happening out there in a few hours.
5:46 pm • 14 November 2011 • 1 note
If it ain’t teargas it ain’t shit
It looks like a busy upcoming 48 hours for a humble citizen journalist such as myself. I have to be in Oakland at 4am for the camp raid; then again at 4pm Monday when a thousand people show up at 14th & Broadway, followed by the obligatory teargassings throughout the night till 4am or so. These days if it ain’t teargas it ain’t shit. Then back to UC Tuesday to document the traditional student beatings at the hands of the riot cops. Who says you don’t get a good education at a public university these days?
I’m telling you this is brutal. Can’t the ruling class just buy these kids off with a few bucks and let me get some sleep? I’m gonna be workin’ hard to keep up.
1:55 am • 14 November 2011
Sun 10:20pm. Planning on going to #OO later
Nobody knows for sure but it seems that tonight’s the night. They can’t raid Monday night / Tuesday morning because the all-day protest at U.C. Berkeley on Tuesday will require mutual aid agencies. So they have to raid OccupyOakland tonight or wait a couple more days … and the rumor mill is buzzing like crazy tonight.
The Mercury News just posted a story that Oakland has opened its winter homeless shelters a day early … consistent with their belief that the homeless will be just as happy at a shelter. Of course Quan is misreading the situation but that’s completely beside the point now. The city officials are making a monumental miscalculation. If they clear the camp there will be a thousand people in the street tomorrow night.
I’m going to go to sleep, wake up at 3:00am, check Twitter and head out. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen. It’s most likely all rumors. But there’s no point in missing this.
ps … someone on Twitter just posted that a 4:00am raid is “confirmed by numerous sources.” My personal guess is someone’s just reading the same rumors over and over — they’re just reading each other’s Tweets and convincing themselves it’s information. It’s not like anyone at Occupy has a highly-placed source at OPD, right? So how do they know anything? Still … if not 4am then 5am … and if not tonight, then they have to wait at least 48 hours because of Cal. So tonight just seems very likely. This morning they passed out the third eviction order.
You know … it’s funny how this has all evolved from when I started shooting the BART protests in August. That was training camp. Tonight is the big leagues. And I find myself wondering what would happen to all my equipment if I got arrested. I would so hate to have it all get lost … I should have insurance on my gear. Note to self, if I get home with my body and my mind and my gear intact tomorrow, get professional gear insurance … the kind that covers riots.
1:26 am • 14 November 2011
OPD turns out lights in plaza, then complains about crime
Friday night 11Nov2011
The city issued OccupyOakland an eviction notice today; and Mayor Quan has asked the campers to leave. There was some fear earlier about a possible police raid tonight, but by the time I got there around midnight tonight, everyone seemed to be asleep. The camp was very quiet and peaceful. A few people stood around quietly here and there.
I took a walk around the camp. The first thing I noticed was the lights. Oakland PD, as I understand it, has taken control of the light switches and turned off the lights a few days ago.
Chief Jordan alluded in his press conference yesterday to some kind of malfunction, but the mainstream reporters have not pressed him on that yet.
If in fact the Oakland police deliberately turned off the lights in an area known to be a potential haven for violent criminals, then they would bear some culpability in the killing that followed. That’s a strong charge; but if that’s what they did, then the charge is fair.
Isn’t it standard police and civic procedure to add light to a known crime area? Certainly not to subtract light — and then complain to the press about the crime there. That’s hypocrisy of the highest order.
The day after the killing, now that the Chief of Police and the media have all gone away, the area was left by OPD in total darkness. Even after the Mayor noted how dangerous the camp was, the city still (deliberately?) has the lights off. If it weren’t for the huge floodlight thankfully provided by the Oakland Fire Department, it would be pitch black at the location of yesterday’s killing.
Is this regarded as professional police procedure in Oakland? Is the fire department the only city agency with any common sense?
Today the Oakland police union put out this self-serving statement about how they are spending “so many resources” on fighting crime in the camp. In truth, the area is completely devoid of police; and they have even turned out the lights to encourage more crime.
It is time for us to stop directing all of our efforts at policing the small enclave of Occupy Oakland and get back to our job of protecting the citizens of Oakland in the neighborhoods where our residents live
“Directing all our efforts?” When I was there tonight, I saw NO police resources directed at policing the Occupy camp or the surrounding area at 14th and Broadway. Not even a lightbulb.
And OPD wonders why they are so distrusted by the community.
Additional pics here.
Approaching Ogawa/Grant plaza from San Pablo Avenue, everything looks normalFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
As I walked up the path in front of City Hall, the first thing I noticed was that the lights are out on the grassy camp area. The lights on the periphery of the camp are still onFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
With the lights turned off, it’s pitch black in the camp. Is this how the Oakland police treat an area that they know may attract criminals?From OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
Another shot showing how dark it is in thereFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
The big globes at the back of the amphitheater are dark
From OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
The lights along 14th Street are darkFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
The Oakland Fire Department, in an act of mercy and sanity, has a big floodlight illuminating the area where Alex was shot to death yesterday. A light rain falls
From OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
The fire department’s light is the only light out there. Without it the area would have been left by OPD in complete darkness. To the right are the stairs down to the BART station. Behind that (by the blue sign) is the spot where Alex was killedFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
As I walk along the eastern edge of the camp, it’s in total darkness. My camera actually compensates and makes it appear that there’s a little light there. It’s actually darker than it looksFrom OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
A shrine to Alex on the spot where he was killed
From OccupyOakland 11Nov2011
4:50 am • 12 November 2011
East Bay Express gets it about impending OPD raid
With the hardliners on the city council and the Chamber of Commerce pushing her, Mayor Quan has asked the campers to leave Ogawa/Grant plaza. On the #OO Twitter feed tonight campers are wary and preparing for a raid.
But someone at the city has to think this through. How are you going to do it? Another pre-dawn teargas and rubber-bullet raid? Followed by what? Another line of riot cops around the plaza as a couple of thousand protesters show up at 14th & Broadway?
Last time they did that the cops teargassed the peaceful crowd FIVE TIMES (I was there — it was peaceful at 14th & Broadway. Chief Jordan lied. Subject for another time). Each time the protesters came back.
[For that matter, SFPD has raided OccupySF three times, and each time THEY came back. And Ed Lee has just been reelected, so the SF situation can escalate at any time too. I wonder if the sympathetic pols will still show up to protect the camp now that the election’s over.]
So either OPD can keep a line of riot cops around the plaza 24/7, or they can build a fence. How’s that visual for the Chamber of Commerce? A line of razor wire fence around Oakland city hall.
The East Bay Express nailed all this perfectly. I am hoping that there is one sane person in Oakland who can put a stop to this madness.
But that’s the problem with the forced eviction advocates: They haven’t really thought this through. It’s easy to criticize the mayor, but a forced removal of the encampment is fraught with problems and it’s irresponsible to demand another raid without addressing them.
We have been critical of Quan over the past few weeks, especially for her ill-advised decision to green-light the first raid. But to her credit, she appears to understand the many complications that a second raid would cause. That’s why she keeps calling on Occupy Oakland to leave voluntarily, and has raised the possibility of moving the encampment elsewhere. She seems to get it that a second forced removal of the camp could propel the city into chaos.
But the question is: After last night’s homicide near the encampment, can she withstand even more criticism and pressure to use force and see the situation through peacefully?
So that’s where we’re at tonight. Leaves me checking #OO constantly, cameras ready, batteries charged up, ready to drive over there for the next teargas party.
If Quan doesn’t step up to her leadership responsibilities, something bad is going to happen.
12:12 am • 12 November 2011