Oakland police have moved in this morning, beginning to arrest some of the hundreds of people from a plaza outside City Hall, two weeks after the protesters began building an intricate encampment as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed and economic inequality.One of the many upsides to this police action is we'll be spared more of these romanticized news stories of the human debris.
Shortly before 5 a.m., officers began making arrests.
Fifteen minutes earlier, officers in riot helmets began arriving at Frank Ogawa Plaza at the corner of 14th Street and Broadway at 4:45 a.m. and formed a line in the street adjacent to the plaza. Some protesters began shouting, "Cops, go home!"
Protesters pulled a Dumpster into the middle of the intersection, and officers quickly pushed it to the side of the road.
At 4:40 a.m., an officer used a public-address system to warn protesters that they would be making arrests if they did not leave the plaza.
"Attention all persons in Frank Ogawa Plaza. It has been determined you are illegally blocking Frank Ogawa Plaza and are the subject to arrest," said the officer, who ordered protesters to remove their belongings, secure their dogs and exit toward Telegraph Avenue. "Those remaining in the park will be arrested," he said.
The officer further warned that those who did not comply could, besides being arrested, face other "police action" that could result in injury.
At 4:50 a.m., some loud bangs were heard after officers lobbed "flash-bang" grenades, and smoke rose into the air. Officers on motorcycles began converging on the street corner while officers on foot began putting on gas masks. A police helicopter flew overhead with its spotlight on.
No single face represents the elaborate encampment outside Oakland City Hall that inhabitants call an experiment in antiauthoritarian living.Were Tea Party rallies every called a spicy stew? Of course not. They were just called racist, over and over and over again.
Instead, two weeks after the first tent went up - and four days after the city gave its first eviction order - the plaza on Monday held a spicy stew of idealists and anarchists, angry middle-class workers and aging radicals, peaceniks and provocateurs, the jobless and the homeless, plus some people who just want to party.