Just as Oakland businesses and residents in downtown were getting back to normal after police cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment last week, protesters announced today they have plans to return to Frank Ogawa Plaza where they will hold a constant vigil.
Presumably, there won't be sanitary concerns or teargassing incidents since the peaceful vigil, which will begin tomorrow, will be a welcoming alternative to the controversial encampment that set off a six-week standoff among protesters, cops, and local businesses.
"There will be no sleeping or camping there," says Phil Horne, a civil rights attorney organizing the vigil. "But there will be 24-hour, seven days a week activism, with speaking, assembly, and petitions. This is designed to respond to all the crackdowns that Bay Area mayors have launched against occupiers."
Horne says the intent is to revive the Occupy Movement that's been disturbed across the nation as cities instruct police to dismantle encampments from New York City to Oakland. "We are hoping other occupiers across the country will turn to a vigil as a way to have a constant protest without being subject to crackdowns from law enforcement," Horne told us.
But just in case, Occupy Oakland is prepping for any harassment by police and Mayor Jean Quan. Horne says the group has drafted legal documents and are prepared to file a restraining order should police try to remove protesters from the vigil.
"This vigil is not the product of a bargain with Mayor Quan, nor is it negotiated with law enforcement," the group said in a statement released today. "Permission from the city is not required to exercise these constitutionally guaranteed rights."
Occupy Oakland will have a sign-up sheet tomorrow at 11 a.m. on Frank Ogawa Plaza for anyone who wants to participate, day or night.