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Indybay Feature
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Orders Mass Arrest of Housing Justice Village Protesters
by Dave Id
Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
An inspirational day of solidarity with unhoused Oaklanders turned into a traumatic night after mayor Libby Schaaf directed a small army of police and DPW workers to smash a housing rights protest held on the doorstep of City Hall. For daring to challenge the Oakland's never ending war against the homeless — the city's encampment demolitions and evictions, the towing of residential vehicles, and a lack of earnestness and urgency in addressing the housing crisis — twenty-two people were arrested and sent to Santa Rita jail, some for over two days.
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[Photo: A hopeful moment as the Housing Justice Village took shape in Oscar Grant Plaza]


Oakland police arrived en force shortly after 11:30pm on November 24, ready to make arrests. It was clearly planned out ahead of time. Within twenty minutes of corporate TV news camera crews wrapping up their live reports and leaving the scene, thereby meaning an assault by the city and mass arrests could take place without ending up on the television news broadcasts, convoys of police vehicles simultaneously rolled up on the 14th Street and San Pablo ends of Frank Ogawa plaza.

Police jumped out of their vehicles and ran up on foot from both directions to pull off something of a military pincer movement, surrounding the protest encampment in a matter of seconds. Once the kettle was set, police began barking orders and stepped forward to shrink their encirclement. Anyone who did not immediately respond was arrested. At least four people were handcuffed and removed right away, for doing nothing but standing there. Two were documenting police with their phones before they were arrested.

There is no way Oakland police came loaded for bear and jailed nearly two dozen protesters in all without Schaaf's express consent. Most likely the attack came under her direct orders. Imagine the phone calls between the mayor and her various minions that day. To be a fly on the wall. That the city began their assault at nearly midnight, with at least 75 uniformed police officers and a full DPW crew called to duty, presumably rousted from their homes late on a Sunday night, indicates that Schaaf meant business. That's a lot of overtime pay, and the overall costs for city's actions that night presumably were in the tens of thousands when all related expenses are factored in.

It was a power move by the mayor intended to to send a message: do not so openly challenge her homeless eviction regime, do not raise the profile of homeless solidarity and resistance in such a direct manner. The pretext used for arrests was being in a city park after 10pm, which is almost no one is ever cited for, much less sent to jail. It was really all about the tents on Schaaf's front lawn, and any excuse would suffice to smash the protest.

The day started with great promise, however. Just before 11am, what was to be known as the Housing Justice Village began to take shape in Oscar Grant Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall. Housed and unhoused activists set up a number of shelter tents on the lawn towards the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway.

The action was intended to close out the East Bay Housing Justice Week of Action, while opening a second, street-level front after Moms 4 Housing reclaimed a vacant investor-owned house in West Oakland earlier in the week.

Once word was online about the protest in the plaza, donated food and supplies began to roll in. An informational canopy tent was set up on the pavement, followed by a food tent. Word began to spread on the street, too, and an increasing number of unhoused folks from the area came through to check out what was happening. Food donations continued to arrive throughout the day, and disappeared as fast as they came in.

Coincidentally, it was also the the same day Occupy Oakland offers free food in the plaza every month. Occupy volunteers set up a table closer to City Hall on 14th Street and, in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, provided a hot meal with traditional fixings such as cranberry.

Not only were folks eagerly eating what was offered, but many wrapped up second and third meals to take with them. Folks are hungry out there and the city of Oakland is not feeding them.

The Homeless Action Center set up an outreach table and indicated they intended to maintain a presence for days. HAC does a great work connecting folks with available public resources, walking people through the often onerous red tape.

An interfaith discussion on homelessness was held in the late afternoon, then a sound system arrived and it was open mic. Speakers laid down hard truths about life on the streets today in Oakland, the history of greed and racist repression in America, and the need to resist, to push through current insufferable conditions. Plans were for outdoor screenings in the plaza in the coming evenings.

In the end, more people were arrested and sent to jail for a minor citable offense than there were tents in the plaza. Some only received tickets for being in the park after dark. Others were also charged with resisting arrest. Bails were set at $5000 a head. It took the better part of two days for folks to raise bail and coordinate the release of all 22 arrestees.

This level of force reveals how serious Schaaf takes a mere 16 tents going up right in front of City Hall. She knew the growing threat such a presence would present over time and determined to smash it on the first night, no matter the cost.


Oakland unhoused neighbors create Housing Justive Village at City Hall (report from morning)
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/11/24/18828389.php

Cat Brooks' statement after police raid
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/11/25/18828416.php
§Homeless Action Center table
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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http://homelessactioncenter.org
§Housing Is a Human Right
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Public Land for Sanctuary — Stop the Sweeps
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Fuck the Tuff Sheds
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Where Do We Go Oakland?
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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https://nlgsf.org
§Looking toward the intersection of 14th and Broadway
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Supporters not in tents gather to discuss strategy
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Protesters lock themselves inside tents
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Police bring out video camera on monopod
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
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§Needa Bee does interview with TV news from within tent
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :07)
§What do we want? Housing! When do we want it? Now!
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:14 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :23)
sm_housingjusticevillage_17_20191124.jpg
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Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
§First mention of possible arrests by police
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :21)
§First and second arrests, one holding phone recording police
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :25)
§Chants of "shame" as third person arrested
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :30)
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :46)
§Late night DPW crew begins to remove unoccupied tents
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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§Yawning police called to duty on their night off
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :17)
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video 1:59)
§Police carry away arrested protesters
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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§Police cars on 14th Street
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :15)
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video 1:36)

This doesn't count cops staffing paddywagons, guarding DPW truck, etc.
§Police arresting occupants of two tents at a time
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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§Arrestee carried away from tent
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :11)
§Occupants of another tent to be arrested
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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§And yet more arrestees in yet another tent
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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§Housing is a human right! Fight fight fight!
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
(video :20)
§NLG legal observers remained until the bitter end
by Dave Id Monday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:47 PM
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How many people could have been housed with the money Libby Schaaf wantonly wasted on this huge police action? She postures like she's an Oakland Tough™ radical because she's anti-Trump, but she's every bit as heartless when push comes to shove. She loves police and real estate developers to no end.
§Press release announcing Housing Justice Village action
by Dave Id Wednesday Dec 25th, 2019 6:07 PM
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(2-page PDF)


UNHOUSED RESIDENTS OF OAKLAND TO CREATE NEW VILLAGE NOV 24TH IN PROTEST OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Housed Allies, Non-Profits, and Curbside Leaders From Berkeley & SF join in solidarity

Over the past two years, the City of Oakland has spent millions of dollars on so called solutions to homelessness. But during that time Oakland’s unhoused population has more than doubled, and hundreds of curbside residents who have been thru Tuff Sheds and Bay Area Community Services Rapid Rehousing efforts are back on the streets.

Meanwhile, rather than heed the October 19th, 2018 United Nations report from the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing who visited Oakland homeless encampments in Fall 2017 and described the conditions as “cruel and inhuman,” Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Encampment Management Team has increased its inhumane treatment of its most vulnerable residents. The only U.S. cities called out for violations in the UN’s new report on global homelessness conditions are San Francisco and Oakland. As stated in the new UN report,

The Oakland conditions of discrimination and harassment of encampment residents and punitive denials of access to basic services constitute “cruel and inhuman treatment and is a violation of multiple human rights… Such punitive policies must be prohibited in law and immediately ceased.”

Since that report, there has been a massive increase in the already inhumane practices described in the UN report. There has also been new tactics the Encampment Management Team deploys including demolishing entire communities of self-built homes or taking vehicles people live in. Despite their assertions, The City does not offer any alternative shelter to the communities it destroys - not even a tent or one night in a homeless shelter, but leaves people vulnerable and traumatized on the side of the road where their homes & RVs once stood.

The Housing Justice Village is organized by unhoused residents who have been traumatized, harmed, set-back and left to freeze to death on the streets after their emergency homes were destroyed or towed. Together with housed allies and non-profit supporters who have witnessed The City’s horrific practices and devastating consequences, Oaklanders are standing up to counter The City’s lies and demand an end to the cruel and inhumane anti-homeless practices.

Join us to discuss/witness:
⇒ Oakland STORIES of the human rights violations featured in the UN Report.
⇒ Unhoused Oaklanders who have been victims of The City’s abuse will be supported in filing civil rights lawsuits against Mayor Libby Schaaf and her agents of inhumanity
⇒ Oakland community-based SOLUTIONS to ending homelessness in Oakland and applying the UN mandates.
⇒ Curbside residents who have been traumatized by The City will be creating space to heal together from the brutality they have endured.

WHEN & WHERE:

On Sunday, November 24th, the location of the new HOUSING JUSTICE VILLAGE will be made public.
Text the number 797979 with the message HOMESNOW
to be notified of the location.
Please, check in with Media Info Tent on site.

For more info, contact:
Needa Bee, The Village
Candice Elder, The East Oakland Collective

Happening simultaneously is a call to action to contact city council members. see details here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/428725104477871/

And a tent and provisions drive to get tents and winter gear for unhoused residents The City left on the streets after homes were demolished or RVs and campers were towed:
https://www.facebook.com/events/494508467921976/

WHO:

The Village in Oakland is a grassroots human rights movement led by unhoused leaders and housed allies. The Village supports curbside communities, advocates for Oakland’s unsheltered residents, develops unhoused leadership, and creates Villages of emergency housing and support services for unhoused residents to find sanctuary from the streets.

The East Oakland Collective (EOC) is a member-based community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by working towards racial and economic equity. With programming in economic development, civic engagement and leadership, EOC helps amplify underserved communities from the ground up. EOC is committed to driving impact in the landscape, politics and economic climate of deep East Oakland.

First They Came for the Homeless (FTCftH) is a group of unhoused people who have organized themselves on the streets of Berkeley and San Francisco both for mutual support and to promote a political message regarding homelessness, homeless people, income inequality and the privatization of the commons in the United States. We stand in solidarity with our curbside brothers and sisters in Oakland.
§Housing Justice Village flier
by Dave Id Wednesday Dec 25th, 2019 6:28 PM
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(2-page PDF)


WHO ARE WE?

We are a group of Oaklanders who are homeless, who are housed or who are on the verge of becoming homeless.

Over the past two years. we have been survivors of and/or witnesses to the cruel and inhumane treatment of The City government to Oakland's unhoused.

In the past two years these government offices have spent more than $30 million dollars towards "solving" homelessness. But during those two years homelessness doubled in Oakland, and dozens of unhoused residents who used the city's programs are back on the streets.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

1. An immediate end to evictions of curbside communities, demolitions of homes and towing of vehicles people Iive in or store belongings in.

2. An immediate end to the destruction of curbside residents' personal property and survival gear.

3. The City Council directed the Mayor and her Administration two years ago to identify and make available at least two parcels of public land in each district to be used for sanctuaries, villages or other community led emergency approaches to support and shelter curbslde communities. This never happened, and must happen immediately.

4 . No more fundraising for or building any more Tuff Sheds. These programs are a waste of money and not effective to meet the scale of the homeless state of emergency or the actual needs of curbside residents.

5. An end to market rate and above market rate development. The City must turn its attention to neglected, deeply affordable housing development goals in the next year.

6. Immediately upgrade all curbside communities with adequate portapotties, trash services, clean drinking water, solar power and improvements to self-built homes.

7. Due to his anti-homeless tendencies, his abuse of power, his complete disregard of the humanity and rights of curbside residents, his mismanagement of millions of dollars to go towards solutions to homelessness — we call for an immediate dismissal of Assistant to the Administrator Joe DeVries. Due to his deep anti-homeless biases and arbitrary decision making that impact the lives and well being of Oakland's unhoused he cannot lead the approaches to solve this crisis.

a. The immediate implementation of City Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas' recommendations to align all The City's approaches to homelessness with a human rights lens.

9. The demilitarization of encampments and the immediate dissolution of the City of Oakland's Encampment Management Team.
§Housing Justice Village agreements
by Dave Id Wednesday Dec 25th, 2019 6:36 PM
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(1-page PDF)


HOUSING JUSTICE VILLAGE AGREEMENTS

1. Leave your old ways outside this space. You are supposed to be here, you belong here. Thank you for answering a call to assert housing is a human right, homelessness is not a crime, the city needs to do much better, and we need housing everyone can afford. Welcome to a new way of living.

2. This is a clean and sober camp. However, we understand so many of our people are using and we understand how the war on drugs was designed to make sure Black and Brown and Indigenous communities did not organize, prosper and thrive in this country. We do not believe drug use, dependency or addiction is crime. We believe it is a trauma related mental health issue that the war on drugs exploits to destroy our communities. So to keep everyone safe, and let everyone to be part of this movement, and keep focused about why we are here, do not drink or use drugs on site. If you are on, you can be here but you need to maintain yourself. If you show up here and can't handle your drank or whatever you on we gonna go grab a cup a coffee and come back when your mind is right. There is also information available at the health & wellness area about the war on drugs, addiction, abuse, dependency, harm reduction, and resources to get clean & sober for folks who want it. We strongly urge folks who do not use or struggle with addiction or substance abuse to pick up this information to better inform yourself about this reality.

3. Keep this place clean. Clean up behind yourself. Leave things better than how you found them. Put trash and recycling where it belongs. And if shits a mess and its not your mess, live by example and clean it up anyway. Don't give them a reason to shut us down or talk trash about unsheltered people.

4. Participate. Join a committee. Create a committee. Get Active. We ain't just here to kick it. We here cuz how the mayor and her Encampment Management Team treats curbside communities is inhumane. We here cuz the millions of dollars that have been set aside to help unsheltered folks aint helping us. That money is being wasted to hurt us, make us invisible and make non-profits and city staff rich. In fact where are the millions to help the homeless? Cuz the homeless fo sho aint seeing it. Before 2017, the city of oakland only spend $250,000 A YEAR on homeless approaches. Over the past two years the city has spent more than $30,000,000 (yes THIRTY MILLION!!!) in homeless approaches. Yet our numbers have DOUBLED over the past two years. We are here to change things and get the city to do something entirely new when it comes to rapid rehousing and service providing in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis.

5. Your cleanliness impacts everything and everyone around you. Be responsible with your personal hygene. Wash your hands before you handle food or eat. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Keep your personal area clean.

6. Absolutely no violence allowed. If shit pops off be ready to be accountable for your actions. All parties involved will have to sit with members of Housing Justice Village to squash all beefs. Cuz we got a common enemy screwing all of us over, and we got bigger fish to fry.

7. Dent never ever call the cops. If you do, you will be asked to leave.

8. Be a good neighbor. Support the local businesses. Spend your money, get to know the owners and workers, if you use their spaces clean up after yourself.
§City of Oakland public relations statement on mass arrests
by Dave Id Wednesday Dec 25th, 2019 10:51 PM
oakland_response_to_protest_at_frank_ogawa_plaza_by_homeless_advocates_11-25-19.pdf_600_.jpg
Unfortunately, this statement was the primary source used in news reports in the coming days, largely because the city's attack on protesters occurred after corporate media had left the scene.
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Press conference photos and audio:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Schaaf is repulsive!NtuitTuesday Dec 24th, 2019 1:40 PM
Mayor Libby Schaaf is a DemocratRegister Peace & Freedom or GreenMonday Dec 23rd, 2019 8:37 PM
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