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Oakland mayor now claims to ‘support’ the occupation

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, October 27, 2011 12:36 EDT
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Oakland Mayor Jean Quon, photographed on Oct. 2, 2011. Via Flickr commons.
 
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After playing a key role in sparking a night of violence and bloodshed, Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland, issued a statement late Wednesday saying that the city is in “support” of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations taking place around the nation.

The position is stunningly different than what Mayor Quan published to her personal Facebook account on Tuesday morning, shortly after police forcibly evicted the peaceful demonstrators from their camp.

Then, her line was that “[m]any Oaklanders support the goals of the national Occupy Wall Street movement,” adding that for health and sanitation reasons, protesters would no longer be welcome to occupy Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Park at night.

Later that day, protesters took to the streets and a police officer shot a U.S. Marine veteran in the face with what many believe to be a tear gas canister or bean bag round, leaving the young man in “critical condition.” It only took about 24 hours after that for Mayor Quon to change her tune dramatically.

“We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too,” Quon wrote late Wednesday night. “We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

“I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.”

Her reversal comes after newscaster Keith Olbermann called on the mayor to either fire her police chief or resign.

Protesters responded on Wednesday night with a demonstration that was bigger than ever, and called for a general strike city-wide on Nov. 2.

Quon’s full statement follows, below.

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We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.

I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.

We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.

Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.

Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.

The City posts regular updates on the city website that you can view at www.oaklandnet.com.

Photo: Flickr user Jim Ratliff.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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