Phil Matier: Oakland Considers Strengthening Protest Laws

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Occupy Protesters

Occupy protesters staged a mostly-peaceful march through downtown Oakland Saturday. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) – The Oakland City Council plans Tuesday to consider strengthening enforcement of its protest-related laws in response to a series of Occupy demonstrations.

The council is expected to vote on a resolution that would direct the city administrator, mayor and police to crack down on protestors who block streets and hold rallies without permits.

”People are saying, ‘free speech is one thing, but it doesn’t mean you have free reach into the lives of the businesses and everyone else around there,’” said KCBS, CBS 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier. “But the other side says ‘look, let’s not inflame the situation, let’s sort of hope that it just goes away and that they react to pressure from within and without to change their diversity of tactics.”

KCBS’ Phil Matier Coments:

Officials said that Oakland police have been selective about enforcing certain protest-related laws. They say police often refrain from arrests or citations unless a protest turns violent. However, some city councilmembers said minor infractions such as blocking a street or gathering without a permit should not be tolerated. A similar resolution proposed several months ago did not pass.

Occupiers said they are appalled by the resolution, and intend to pack the Oakland City Council chambers.

Meanwhile, in response to what it calls “police brutality” in handling the Occupy Oakland movement, the hacker group Anonymous has released the personal information of top Oakland city leaders including the mayor and the police chief.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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