Police Clear Occupy Oakland Site
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Protestors occupying a plaza in Oakland, California, awoke this morning to the sound of police helicopters. Hundreds of riot police converged on their tent city and by dawn, the Occupy Oakland encampment was emptied without major incident. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.
(SOUNDBITE OF HELICOPTER)
RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: This morning's raid was no surprise to anyone. Mayor Jean Quan had called on the protestors to leave after a camper was shot dead last Thursday just a few yards from the tent site. Police are still looking for suspects. Over the weekend, the police issued three written warnings to the campers that their small tent city would be shut down. This morning, well before dawn, Oakland officers aided by departments from around the region, surrounded the camp. Most protestors left without much resistance. Although 32 people were arrested, police say only nine were from Oakland.
In a news conference, Mayor Quan, who has been under attack from virtually every corner of the city for her handling of the crisis, expressed her relief. She is known to support the spirit of the Occupy movement, but she said the protest had lost its way.
MAYOR JEAN QUAN: It was no longer about the abuses of the financial system or foreclosures or the unemployed. The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and this week, a murder. We had to bring the camp to an end before more people were hurt.
GONZALES: Mayor Quan said peaceful protestors will be allowed to reassemble in front of city hall, but that another camp won't be tolerated. For their part, Occupy Oakland protestors say they will regroup. Gloria Loreva(ph), a graphic artist from San Francisco, was among those who left the camp as the police flattened the tent city.
GLORIA LOREVA: We'll see what happens. I think the whole movement, every time we see someone attacked, whether Portland, Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, anywhere we are, we see that we have to keep (inaudible). It's a critical, critical time in the United States.
GONZALES: The Oakland protestors met this afternoon at the public library, not far from the plaza, to determine their next move. Richard Gonzales, NPR News, Oakland.
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