Leave it to Oakland to ring in the New Year with a protest -- or two.
East Bay revelers, be warned: We just got word from the City Attorney's Office that there will be a great deal of marching and chanting starting today as Occupy Oakland and others plan to take to the streets for yet another demonstration.
According to Oakland's City Administrator Deanna J. Santana, Occupy Oakland is hosting a "unpermitted demonstration" on New Year's Eve which includes a march from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (AKA the Oscar Grant Plaza) to the North County Jail on Seventh Street.
It won't be a quiet demonstration, as protesters have asked participants to "Bring friends, noisemakers, fireworks."
Assuming the "party" doesn't go on all night, the same crew of protesters will wake up the following day and head down to the Fruitvale BART station for a 12 p.m. rally and vigil, marking the fifth year since a BART cop shot Oscar Grant to death on the BART platform.
No need to panic and change your New Year's plans: The city is prepping for the expected (and the unexpected) by adding a lot more cops to the streets.
Here's what the city has to say about all this:
Keeping peace on our streets and protecting the safety of Oakland residents and businesses is our top priority. Although we don't anticipate problems to occur, in the event that the demonstrations become unlawful, the Oakland Police Department is prepared to swiftly address any criminal behavior that would damage property or jeopardize the safety of the public or police officers. Individuals engaging in such behavior are subject to arrest and prosecution.
What you do need to worry about is traffic in downtown Oakland. Officials warn that trying to get from Point A to Point B will probably be extra annoying tomorrow night as the group marches through the streets at peak party time (9:30 p.m.). You can always call 511 to get the latest updates on your traffic headache.
If you see illegal happenings, call OPD's anonymous toll-free tip hotline at (855) TIPS-247 (855-847-7247), or Text "TIP" to OAKLANDPD to 888777. If you're really in the thick of it and just so happen to snap photos, you can send those over to the city via email (and us, too!).
And alas, some safety tips for those of you who actually like leaving your house on New Year's Eve:
Good luck and Happy New Year!