Occupy protestors cleared from Oakland plaza
Police lead away demonstrators from area without remarkable incident
Oakland is a California suburb a stone's throw away from San Francisco, known as a mainstay of Sixties radicalism. The torch bearers of that time, the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Oakland have amicably removed themselves from a plaza in front of city hall with the help of police.
City officials had originally been supportive of the protesters, with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan saying that sometimes 'democracy is messy,' but later warned the protesters that they were breaking the law and could not stay in the encampment overnight.
"I'm very pleased with how things went," Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said.
Television news footage showed protesters being taken away in plastic handcuffs without incident.
Thirty-year-old Aiyahnna Johnson had been living at the camp with her 2-year-old daughter. "We want the best for you guys, that's all," she was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle telling two officers who were leading her away.
The Oakland site was just one of many numerous camps that have sprung up around the nation, as protesters rally against what they see as corporate greed and a wide range of other economic issues.
Police declared on a loud speaker that the protesters were illegally blocking the plaza and were subject to arrest. Several hundred people appeared ready to defend the camp about an hour before police moved in, placing Dumpsters, boards, pallets and even metal police-style barricades around the plaza.
Authorities fired tear gas after being pelted with rocks, bottles and utensils from people in the camp's kitchen area. Witnesses reported seeing smoke rising from the area. The plaza was "contained" around 5:30 a.m., according to city officials, although tents and trash remain there.
Streets were closed off by police barricades, and at least two helicopters were in the air shining lights down. Dozens of officers were on the streets, and police in riot gear were seen facing off with shouting protesters.
Downtown businesses were advised to delay opening and city employees were ordered to come in late.
City officials had originally been supportive of the protesters, with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan saying that sometimes "democracy is messy," but later warned the protesters that they were breaking the law and could not stay in the encampment overnight.
They cited concerns about rats, fire hazards, public urination and acts of violence at the site, which had grown to more than 150 tents and included health, child-care and kitchen areas.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Oakland, Occupy Wall Street, protesters
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