by Rachel Swan
According to the latest missive from Oakland City Hall, Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan has rescinded the temporary encroachment permit that the City Administrator's office issued to activist and veterans' rights attorney Becca von Behren for a teepee and vigil in honor of Occupy Oakland. The permit, which was issued on November 29, allowed for a symbolic demonstration at Frank Ogawa Plaza as a small concession to protesters about a month after their camp was razed. Though it looked like an olive branch, the gesture also came with several conditions attached, including that the teepee be taken down at 10 p.m. each night and not used for long-term personal storage. Today, city administrators declared the teepee and concomitant Occupy Oakland vigil unlawful, since people had been camping and distributing food there without health permits. On Friday, December 30, thirteen people were arrested near the plaza, with charges ranging from battery of an officer to "urging a riot."
In response, Occupy Oakland's legal team issued its own press release, contending that the city is trying to repress what had for weeks been a peaceful vigil. "The idea that they’re going to revoke a permit for an info table and teepee because others nearby are giving out free food is absolutely absurd," the press release stated, adding that, in light of the recent homicides in Oakland — including Saturday's fatal shooting of a five-year-old boy — it's "horribly misguided" for the city to exhaust resources on protesters who are trying to give out free food.
Roughly an hour ago, Occupy Oakland sent a letter to Interim Chief Jordan, asking him to reconsider. In the meantime, protesters have gathered in front of City Hall, anticipating another raid. Several Twitter feeds warned that Oakland police are establishing a quiet presence there, but no one has made any moves.