Helicopters are circling over downtown Oakland this morning as police continue breaking down the Occupy Oakland camp, where protesters have been camped out for two weeks in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Hundreds of officers in riot gear raided the camp shortly before 5 a.m., tearing down tents and carrying protesters off in plastic handcuffs. Some 50 people were reportedly arrested as of 8 a.m. According to KTVU, protesters did not seem to be resisting arrest, however one officer fired a non-lethal projectile from a shotgun at a protester who lobbed a bottle.
It started at about 4:30 a.m., when police warned protesters to move out of the plaza, or get arrested. By 4:50 a.m., officers tossed "flash-bang" grenades. BART service was suspended while police raided the camp with protesters appearing ready to defend their territory.
After the cops raided the City Hall camp, where some 150 people have been squatting, they then started breaking up smaller encampments around the Lake Merritt area. At about 6:15 a.m., police arrested at least six more protesters at Snow Park at 19th and Harrison streets.
Protesters vowed to come back and reoccupy City Hall, but police have already started erecting metal barricades around the plaza, according to the Chron. For days, protesters ignored police demands for them to evacuate the plaza, where conditions have been deemed unsanitary.
Here's what Mayor Jean Quan had to say about this morning's raids:
"Many Oaklanders support the goals of
the national Occupy Wall Street movement. We maintained daily
communication with the protesters in Oakland. However, over the last
week it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the city could
maintain safe or sanitary conditions or control the ongoing vandalism."
Here's footage of the chaos: