Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Oakland- Weeks 2 & 3

Well, the last two weeks have been crazy. Last week I was participating in a speed screenwriting competition and had one week to write an 11 page screenplay.   The competition ended on Monday, October 24th at 5pm. I had a pounding headache, but a completed story.  With that under my belt I left off some steam at a local ale house with a friend of mine that night and went to bed around 10:30pm.

The next morning, on October 25th, around 5am, Occupy Oakland's base camp got raided by the police.  I woke up to texts from friends and my mom telling me to turn on the news.

Prior to all the craziness that went down this past week, during "Week 2" of Occupy Oakland (October 17-22)  I was chilling and  writing my screenplay.  For the most part, things down at the Occupy Oakland camp seemed pretty normal by Bay Area standards:

The entrance announcing Nov 5th is Bank Transfer Day

They got the spirit

(for those of you who don't live in the Bay Area, Oscar Grant was an Oakland man who was murdered by a police officer last year)

Still good weather for camping

Art everywhere

Not sure what that means

Donation Station

Sectioned off parts of the camp

A Garden

Recycling Center

A Poop Chute

First Aid Station
(it was here that I saw a man in a wheelchair getting care on his leg)

I guess they would consider this an off-shoot of the First Aid Station

A word of prophecy..


A reporter talking about a piddly 3.9 earthquake we had last week, while a homeless man collapses in the background, attracting a crowd. Her camera faced away from the camp and towards City Hall instead. Little would she know that just a few days later she would be sent back to this location to report in a thick cloud of tear gas.

At this point, Occupy Oakland wasn't getting alot of press and this perplexed me.  But that is probably because it was right outside my front door at work everyday for the past couple of weeks.

But it was also right outside my front door at home as well.

On Saturday, October 22nd, I was sitting on my bed, with the laptop plugged in, having a serious case of writer's block as I tried to work on my screenplay. I checked the Twitter Feed and read a tweet that announced that the Occupy Parade was marching towards my neighborhood. I quickly got up, brushed my teeth, put my hair in a pony tail, grabbed my camera phone and was out the door.

 I started marching ahead of them so I could get some good shots.

As the protesters marched to the end of Lake Park Avenue, cops told the crowd to go "right" and some started veering to the right to head towards Lake Merritt, but a protester with a megaphone yelled, "left!"

So they turned left down Lakeshore Blvd and a voice yelled, "It's a CHASE!"

The group rushed inside a CHASE BANK (which appeared to be unplanned) and filled up the inside yelling and chanting, "Get out the way CHASE!" and "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!"

They threw a bunch of deposit slips in the air and someone smashed an ATM:

Does this really accomplish your goal?

The protesters left and the bank closed for the day to clean up.

Knowing that a Wells Fargo was just down the street, I ran ahead of the crowd and waited for them. Wells Fargo was prepared and locked their doors.

You would think by seeing the wood on the window, that they boarded it up just in case of vandalism, but they just happened to be getting ready to put new ATM's in.

Then they arrived

He's not happy

At this point, I overhead a young woman say about the bankers, "They are shaking in their boots!"

But it didn't look that way:

Banker taking pictures of the protesters

Then the crowd left and headed back towards their base camp. As I watched them march away I got some frozen yogurt. It was a hot day for October!

See you guys next week....

Or so I thought.

That following Monday, I took the day off of work to finish my screenplay, but I had read stories via Twitter that the police have taken the camp's propane tanks away. Something huge was coming. However, that Monday night, I heard the Occupiers had a two week anniversary party. It would be their last party for a few days.

On Tuesday morning, after hearing about the raids, on my way to work I saw that the intersections to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where they had been camping out, had been barricaded off. Only the clean up crew was allowed in there and the place looked more like this:

And the protesters looked like this:

And Walgreens at that very intersection looked like this:

And the utopia the campers had been building, now looked like this:

Needless to say, the protesters were pissed. 

I have a strict policy to only take pictures in the day time, so I did not take any photos of what was about to transpire.

The protesters gathered at the library down the street and marched back to this area to "retake the plaza". After it got dark, apparently things got a little crazy and Jon Stewart can fill you in on the rest:

By Thursday, the Oakland police were now letting people back into the plaza and the Occupiers wasted no time rushing the fence and taking it down. But remember, alot of these protesters are artists, so they couldn't just stack the fence pieces in any old fashion:

Art in the Park

By today, Friday, October 28th, after City Hall had loosened their collars and said the protesters could go back to the lawn (but don't camp, but if you do, we won't evict you just yet, flip flops the Mayor), the protesters were in full swing, having general assemblies and shoot, even Michael Moore and MC Hammer came by.

Okay, I don't have pictures of either one of them.  But I read about it on the Twitter.

Next week, stay tuned for pictures of the next big movement to come out of Oakland:

And please remember to pray for Veteran Scott Olsen. According to the latest Twitter updates, he was wounded in the "riot" on Tuesday night and is still in the hospital and not able to speak:

Get Well Scott

For an even more complete collection of pictures, please visit my picture pages on Facebook:


Mel said...

Wow. That's some pretty great coverage. It's funny, but I feel for both sides of this struggle. Nobody should be tear gassed and fired on though for a peaceful protest. The guy who smashed and ATM - arrest that one. Don't harm people! Great and interesting post.

Kathleen Basi said...

That is a very interesting post, and very interesting pictures. I watch this from a distance, wondering when the dust settles, where it's all going to land. Dittos to Mel about the guy and the ATM. It doesn't seem very fair to go trash the local banks; the people who work there are part of the 99% too...mostly, anyway.

Aubrey said...

I love the John Stewart clip, but not as much as I love the photos you took. I find hope in this movement, in your documentation of it. I am relieved that people are finally angry...finally doing something...finally coming together and speaking out. Thanks for this post.

Laines said...

Do you mind if I post an editorial comment?

theresa said...


Isn't that what a blog is for?

Jack said...

The protesters frustrate me. The lack of a plan and structure isn't something that leads to real change.

I support their right to assemble and would like to see change but this is a piss poor and ineffective way of doing it.

How much money is being spent by local government to "watch" over things. Instead of that being allocated to education, healthcare, repairing roads or other things....

Changes need to be made, but this just won't cut it.