OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The City of Oakland and its Police Department are fully aware of the planned Occupy Oakland protest on Thursday, and they are prepared for whatever comes of it.
Oct. 25 marks the anniversary of when Oakland police evicted protestors camping in Frank Ogawa Plaza, arresting nearly 100 in the process.
Hundreds of protestors returned later that night but the plaza was barricaded with officers in riot gear standing guard.
Police used tear gas, smoke grenades and bean bag shots to keep protesters at bay for hours that night, leading to international scrutiny of the events and public backlash the next day that prompted city leaders to allow the Occupy protests to return to the plaza the following day.
On Thursday, the Occupiers plan to “Take Back the Plaza,” dressed in all black to stand in solidarity.
The takeover is planned to begin at noon, with a General Assembly meeting at 5 p.m. and a march at 7 p.m. and is expected to last overnight, organizer Jesse Smith said.
“The plan is not to establish a long-term encampment,” Smith said. “We expect to be out of the plaza by 6 a.m.”
One Occupier, who asked to remain anonymous, said she will be there camping out in a tent and expects there to be a “huge gathering” of protestors with her.
For the upcoming protest, a flier has even been anonymously distributed threatening violence against certain protesters.
The flier claims to be from the Defend Our Oakland Movement, or DOOM, and advocates physically abusing “any and all Caucasian black-clad anarchists/vandals and others that would engage in physical destruction against Oakland.”
The flier suggested people bring bats and weapons to the rally to “stand up and defend the great city of Oakland.”
Oakland police plan to be in attendance to prevent any vandalism or violence.
“We are aware of planned events tomorrow in and about downtown Oakland related to the Occupy anniversary,” Sgt. Chris Bolton said. “We have additional officers on duty who will be available to react to contingencies.”
Bolton said the goal of the police is to facilitate lawful and peaceful protests.
“Criminal acts are not protected in the First Amendment,” Bolton said. None of the fliers have been found in the city since they were originally found more than a week ago, he said.
Occupier Shake Anderson has said the movement was never about vandalism, speculating that they consist of a small group of people from outside the area who are “perpetuating the name of the movement.”
“It looks like the 1 percent,” Anderson said, referring to the Occupy movement’s target of the one percent of wealthiest Americans, who they argue have a disproportionate control over the economy and government. “They’re from out of town, they come in here and try to take over. It’s exactly what the movement is fighting against.”
However, on the Occupy Oakland website, protestors were told to meet at the plaza at 3 p.m. to discuss “how to effectively combat state and police oppression,” before the planned march.
The message added, “Let’s show these pigs we will never back down in the face of violent oppression.” However, it said, “Untargeted property damage is not part of the plan and is discouraged.”
City of Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd said businesses in the city will remain open for the protest. Key city staffers will work extended hours to provide additional community support, she said.
However, the downtown Oakland YMCA announced it would be closing early as a precaution for the “more aggressive march and protest” by the Occupy group, according to the association’s website. Everything scheduled from 4 p.m. on has been canceled for the day.
Bolton said police could use assistance by anyone in attendance to keep the protest peaceful.
Attendees can call the police anonymously at (855) 847-7247 or text “TIP OAKLANDPD” to 888777 to report any criminal activity.
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