Photo by Mathew Sumner/Getty Images.
Police donned full riot gear early Monday morning to clear the Occupy Oakland encampment that has housed protesters since mid-October, a move that followed repeated warnings by local officials for protesters to leave after a fatal shooting last Thursday.
The Associated Press reports that the eviction was peaceful with no reported injuries, despite the arrest of 32 protesters for refusing to clear out of downtown Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. Local officials previously allowed protesters to reclaim the campsite after a police eviction on October 25 turned violent, with one Iraq War veteran suffering a fractured skull.
But officials renewed calls for an end to the encampment after a 25 year-old man was shot and killed nearby last Thursday night. Protest organizers at first denied any relation to the shooting, but police on Sunday confirmed with the victim’s family that he had in fact been staying at the encampment, according to the AP. One of two suspects in the shooting also frequented the plaza, according to witness accounts to Oakland police.
After police cleared about 150 remaining tents Monday, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan reiterated that the anti-Wall Street protesters will still be allowed to gather for demonstrations but not allowed to spend the night.
"We've been consistent that they can use it as a free speech location," Quan told the AP. “The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and last week a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people got hurt."
The action in Oakland comes after another major eviction at two campsites for Occupy Portland protesters Sunday that resulted in 50 arrests. In addition, officials nationwide have increased calls for an end to encampments after two other deaths last Thursday at Occupy protest sites in Salt Lake City and Burlington, leaving protesters to reevaluate the future of the movement.
"There is no secret plan,” Shon Kae, a member of Occupy Oakland's media committee, told the AP. “We all have to just keep on with the struggle."