The Occupy Oakland protesters got a rude awakening this morning as at least 200 police officers, many in riot gear, descended on their camp in front of City Hall around 4:45am. Dozens were arrested as the officers overturned tents, stalls, and at least one couch and ripped up cardboard signs. The protesters, who have been camped out since Oct. 10, were warned Friday by city officials that their encampment was illegal and they could be arrested.
Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement that many Oaklanders support Occupy Wall Street’s goals and that the plaza will be available for “peaceful protest” during park hours, but that conditions had recently become unsafe and unsanitary. Initial police reports indicate the raids went quickly and smoothly, but one officer says some protesters threw bottles, skillets, rocks, and plates while chanting, “Police go home, cops go home.” Another, smaller Oakland camp nearby was similarly dismantled, and Inside Bay Area adds that seven protesters were also arrested in nearby San Jose this morning.