Unoccupy The Plaza (Part I)
This morning around 5am, law enforcement went in and removed the camp. Even thought I do like many of the things that the protesters are standing for, but I am wondering how many of the people are basically a term that I heard this morning on the news, that being "Professional Protesters"? Let me go back over the last few days with what I have seen here in Oakland.
This past Saturday I went to a meeting at a congregation in another city, but still apart of the diocese. It was a wonderful meeting, and I was dropped off at a BART station afterward and rode it back to Oakland. Now, I had started to get off at another station, but for some reason I decided that I was going to stop and take a walk around the encampment.
I came up out of the Bart Station, and began to walk around. I then became discussed with the way that the place looked and the trash that I saw all over the place. The place smelled, and I began to realize that this encampment was no longer really serving a real purpose other than for a bunch of people to sit around to talk politics and to try and convince people that they had all of the answers to all of the problems in this world.
As I walked around, I stopped and looked at the memorial that was there for the young man who was murdered there the other day, and said a pray for him and his family, along with a prayer for the person who shot and killed him in hopes that he thinks and realizes what he had done and how it has effected lives.
I stopped by the spot where people had left note of well wishes for the young man who apparently hit by something a police officer had shot. He made it through several military deployments without a scratch, then this happens to him. I quietly said a pray for him in that he will fully recover, and one for the cop who did it in hopes that the cop takes a quick second to consider what he is about to do, but is still have to go home to family at the end of the shift.
I then walked over by City Hall where I saw a bunch of people standing and sitting. Some person was talking over a bull horn about something as the people listened. I couldn't quite understand what she was saying, but I guess that she was interesting to the crowd. As I walked away, I look and see about 6 Oakland cops standing around, and one had what appeared to be a cell phone pointed at me. The a flash went off and I realized that he had just taken my picture. I thought about going over to him to tell him that I wasn't apart of the things going on, but then I realized that he was just doing his job, and I knew that I hadn't done anything wrong.
As I continued to walk, I then realized that there were a number of cops around. When I had been down there before, I never really did see a police presence, but this time it was different. Something was going on. Would the police be planning on coming in and breaking down the encampment again? Were they looking for someone special that they figured would be there then? I just didn't know.
After jumping online to check my email, I then walked through the encampment. Now I have a bad sense of smell, and it is at a point where I really can't smell flowers even if they are right under my nose, but I could smell the stink of the encampment. I needed to get out of there in hopes that none of it went into the clothes that I was wearing. I then went home.
I went back to the plaza after church on Sunday. On most Sundays lately I have been there because a group of us hold an Open Cathedral service there. The services where planned for there long before the Occupy Movement set up camp, and even though we don't do the service in the spot where we wanted to, they have been done. Some of the campers join us, but most of them don't.
I had gotten there early, and again I noticed the presence of the police. As they walked around, I noticed that some of them were taking pictures, and interacting with the people. Ok, I was sure that something was going to happen. The police were there to do surveillance and gather information for whatever plan that they were going to do.
As we started setting up the table and getting ready for the service, I noticed two cops were standing not to far from us watching. They were trying to act like they weren't paying attention to us, but I could tell that they were. Not to long before the service began, I saw them get into their car and just sit there watching us. Other cops from time to time would come over to the car and talk with them, but they were surely keeping and eye on us.
We did the service, then began to pass out lunches that were brought. I grabbed one of the boxes that had lunches and walked over to them and offered them a lunch. They said no, and I wished them well as I walked away. Oh something was going to happen, but I couldn't figure out when. I walked around some and passed out the lunches that I had, then went back to were we had gathered. The group spent some time talking, then we all headed home. I walked around the camp some more realizing that it would most likely be the last time that I would see it how it was then.
I awoke this morning and turned on the TV. It had happened a few hours before I awoke, but law enforcement had come in and closed the camp down. 34 people had been arrested (only 9 of the people live in Oakland,) and were off to jail. As I sat and watched, I was so glad that I wasn't there when it happened. I had figured that they would do it early in the morning, as there are fewer people there, which would make it easier on them.
This afternoon I went to the main library here in Oakland. I had heard reports that the protest was going to gather outside there, and even thought I was taking a chance, I was wondering how things would be. I arrived at the library about 90 minutes before the event was suppose to happen, as I needed to return some stuff that was due today, and I wanted to do some research.
I posted on Facebook that being at the library and knowing about the protest that was suppose to happen. Some people messaged me saying that I should go, but I knew that I would be safe inside of it. I had realized that the library would be safe because it contained something that the protesters felt was important, that being "Knowledge". If they were to destroy the library, it means the inability for people to gain access to knowledge, which in a way would defeat the ability for people to read the books that the protesters want people to read and hopefully start to think like them.
I heard the protesters outside after a bit, then I took the items that I wanted to bring up and checked them out. I sat back down and surfed on the Internet for a while. After a bit, I figured that since it seemed as though the library was going to let us stay in and not close, I went up into one of the Men's Bathrooms and pulled out my camera, as that bathroom has windows that face out towards where all of the people were. I took a few shots, then took some shots from a few other areas inside. I hear someone tell the crowd that they were going to march to the plaza. I thought for a moment, then I decided that I was going to follow the march, but from a safe distance behind them.
I knew in my heart that something would be interesting to watch, but I wasn't sure what it would be. I'll write about it in Part II.