Riot-clad deputies clear out Occupy Oakland encampment
OAKLAND, Calif. ó
Riot-clad Alameda County Sheriff's deputies began removing tents from the Occupy Oakland encampment early Monday, executing eviction notices that had been given to protesters over the weekend.
While the deputies descended onto the camp, hundreds of other officers were surrounding the area. At least 20 people have been arrested
Tension in has been building since Sunday night when police issued a fourth cease and desist order telling demonstrators they couldn't camp in the plaza. The order said the protesters faced immediate arrest.
Helmet-wearing officers from Oakland and several other San Francisco Bay area cities encircled the encampment at about 4:30 a.m. PST. Some held long sticks while others clutched white zip-ties.
The warnings from Oakland authorities were similar to those issued before officers raided the encampment on Oct. 25 with tear gas and bean bag projectiles. More than 80 people were arrested.
A day later, Mayor Jean Quan allowed protesters to reclaim the disbanded site after facing criticism for her handling of the city's response, as protesters highlighted that an Iraq War veteran had suffered a serious head injury during the police raid.
The injured veteran, Scott Olsen, has been released from the hospital. Olsen, who suffered a skull
fracture, became a rallying point for protesters nationwide.
"I'm feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me. After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me, my speech is coming back but I've got a lot of work to do with rehab," Olsen, 24, said in the
The Oakland camp has grown substantially since the Oct. 25 raid, although city officials said on Sunday the number of tents has dropped by about 30 to 150 since Nov. 8.
Officials across the country have been urging an end to similar gatherings in the wake of three deaths in different cities, including two by gunfire.
Demands for Oakland protesters to pack up increased after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the encampment site.
Protesters had said that there was no connection between the shooting and the camp. But police Sunday night identified the slain man as 25-year-old Kayode Ola Foster of Oakland, saying his family confirmed he had been staying at the plaza.
Police officer Johnna Watson said witnesses have told police that one of two suspects in the shooting had also been a frequent resident at the plaza. The suspects are being sought and their names haven't been released.
Investigators suspect that the shooting resulted from a fight between two groups of men.