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Occupy Oakland Celebrates Two-Week Birthday, 10/24/11: photos
Despite continuing daily letters from the City of Oakland warning of arrests and seizure of property -- and rumors of a pending police raid scheduled for tonight -- occupiers took the time to celebrate their having held Oscar Grant Plaza as an autonomous zone for two full weeks. It was October 10th that occupiers first held a large rally and then set up camp, in a matter of days building out a kitchen which feeds anyone who stops by and is hungry, a medical tent, a children's area, an info tent, a library, a media tent with a bicycle generator, an art tent, and gardens. All the while numerous committees busy themselves with maintaining the occupation, holding workshops, and developing strategies in line with challenging the growing economic inequalities in this country. The birthday celebration included a swirl pound cake with chocolate icing, an a capella occupation song performance, and dancing to loudspeakers booming out Stevie Wonder, Parliament, Michael Jackson, and more.
[Pictured above: Happy Birthday Occupation and cake]
Amplified music on this corner of the plaza at 14th and Broadway would normally be an arrestable offense, but occupiers have repeatedly denied Oakland police access to the area and refused to turn off the sound system, so now something as simple as an impromptu dance party can be held, putting smiles on the faces of diverse folks who previously would not likely be dancing together on a downtown sidewalk.
This corner is normally a relatively "hot" area were fist fights intermittently can be seen breaking out, with OPD rushing in to handcuff people and make arrests -- that is until Occupy Oakland took the plaza.
Regardless of whether OPD clears out the plaza tonight, or another night in the near future, personal connections have been made and lessons learned that will continue to benefit the cause of those fighting for a more just Oakland.
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Occupy Oakland Celebrates Two-Week Birthday, 10/24/11: video