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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
Occupy Oakland Move-In Day - Henry J Plan A, 1/28/12: photos
Occupy Oakland had intended January 28th to be Move-In Day, that is a vacant building of a nature suitable to serve as a new indoor home for the occupation was to be reclaimed for public use. A weekend Rise Up Festival was scheduled to follow the successful occupation of an abandoned building. Several potential locations were selected by the Move-In Day Assembly, although they were not publicly announced. Plan "A" apparently was the Henry J Kaiser Convention Center, but Oakland police tracking and paralleling the Move-In Day march in a dozen or more large white vans full of riot police formed a line around the building preventing occupiers from entering the auditorium grounds. After circling the Henry J by passing through the Laney College campus, marchers stopped between Lake Merritt and the convention center. A free-standing chain-link perimeter fence was pulled over by demonstrators but no one attempted to cross the ditch in between the police line and marchers. Within a minute or two, police declared an illegal assembly and fired several volleys of tear gas at the crowd. Marchers headed toward downtown after giving up hope for converting the unused auditorium into a thriving community space.
[Pictured above: City Hall looms behind the rally at Oscar Grant Plaza before the march to Plan A location]
It should be noted that the day started with a targeted arrest at noon on the 14th Street side of the plaza by City Hall before the rally began. The provocative snatch and arrest of a long-time Occupy Oakland participant who was violating no laws at the time riled up those who had already gathered at the plaza. Chants of "Let him go!" rained down on police as they took their bounty away. Police tried to form a line at the edge of the plaza to hold back the angry crowd, but were pulled away by an OPD commander who told the police line to withdraw and move across the street.
Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center: Located across from Laney College near Lake Merritt and the Estuary at 10 10th St Oakland, CA 94607 the Oakland Municipal Auditorium (a.k.a. The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) includes the 1,900 seat formal Calvin Simmons Theater, and a multi-purpose arena, which seats up to 4,500 people. The Oakland Municipal Auditorium was opened in 1914 has been used for everything from the provision of emergency medical services in the Flu pandemic of 1918, to Grateful Dead and Oakland Ballet performances to the Black Panther Party Black Community Survival Conference and the Green Party Presidential Campaign of Ralph Nader. Mayor Jerry Brown closed the auditorium in 2006, allegedly because of a slight operating deficit, but more likely in an attempt to set up the sale of the property in the booming real estate market of the time. The Convention Center was one of the few large venues staffed by Union workers and many labor unions and left political groups used the hall because it paid the workers decent wages. When Brown closed the hall 20 workers lost good paying union jobs and the community lost a locale for everything from high school graduations to AC/DC concerts. The supposed annual budget savings were $300,000 a year. (City staff recently estimated that in the intervening five years $5,000,000 to $9,000,000 worth of decay had occurred in the property.) Jobs, public service and economic stimulus of a vital downtown jewel were destroyed due to property speculation. (Even the City’s 1% were hurt — the Oakland Ballet which used the Calvin Simmons Theater in the Center became homeless and went out of business for over a year.) The property has been left largely vacant, except for some isolated event rentals since then. In 2011, in a paperwork shuffle the City of Oakland sold the property to its the Redevelopment agency (the City Council is the board of the Redevelopment Agency). http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32810-d1419402-Reviews-Henry_J_Kaiser_Convention_Center-Oakland_California.html
We The Planet 2004: "A Festival of Music and Activism" at the Henry J
Occupy Oakland Move-In Day and Rise Up Festival Press Conference, 1/25/12: video & photos
Occupy Oakland Move-In Day Mural on San Pablo Ave
Move-In Day Assembly
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Marchers depart from the Plan A target for indoor occupation and head up 12th Street toward downtown
Occupy Oakland Move-In Day - Battle on Oak Street, 1/28/12: photos