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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
StayAway Eviction--Brief report
August 22nd, 2013— The StayAway squat in Oakland was evicted by a paramilitary camo-clad SWAT team with assault rifles. A long-time rent paying resident was also evicted and left homeless, all for the profit of REO Homes.
At around 10am, four heavily armored black SWAT trucks turned heads as they rolled down Vallecito Place in Highland. Deterred by the barricades that had been built in front of the StayAway over the previous month of eviction defense, the camo-clad SWAT team packing AR-15s went up 28th street and entered an adjoining property. This maneuver appears to have been pre-planned, as the neighbor said that while the Sheriff did not gain her consent to pass through her yard, she was addressed by name upon stepping outside. Entering through the backyard with no warning, StayAway residents confronted by this paramilitary squad were forced at gunpoint to abandon their possessions and leave their home with nothing but the clothes on their bodies. Two comrades were arrested and at the time of this writing their charges are unknown, although we know they were taken to Santa Rita County Jail. Those who witnessed the arrests say that one of the arrested comrades was beaten by officers. Those unfortunate enough to be barefoot at the time were not even permitted to get their shoes, and no one was able to get food for the three dogs who had not yet eaten. The entire block was closed to all traffic for over two hours. The StayAway collective and supporters rallied to challenge the fascist sheriff department, confront the owner, and demand a return of stolen possessions. Aside from evicting a nearly two year old squat collective, the Sheriff boarded up the home of a veteran and postal service worker who has been paying rent on his unit for over ten years. He was at work at the time, returning to find that he could not even get up the stairs to his front door and that all his windows had been boarded up. After a few hours, the sheriffs left and contractors hired to clean out the complex were persuaded to let residents enter their home one by one to get their personal belongings. For any who did not have the pleasure of spending time at the StayAway, it was a beautiful space filled with art that housed a constantly evolving community of gardeners, musicians, travelers, writers, and activists. Today this community was violently separated from its physical base for the benefit of REO Homes. Stay alert for upcoming actions against REO, a corporation notorious for purchasing foreclosed homes and evicting squats.