Oakland residents sound off on Occupy acts

Nov. 4, 2011 at 4:00 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Oakland, Calif., residents expressed both support and anger at a City Council session about nearly four weeks of sometimes violent Occupy Oakland activism.

"The business community is outraged," Oakland's Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Haraburda said Thursday night.

He called for the encampment outside City Hall to be shut down immediately.

"This is our first salvo, but we are not ruling out other action," the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News quoted him as saying.

In the latest protest, police arrested about 80 demonstrators early Thursday in post-midnight clashes that followed a generally peaceful general strike against economic inequality.

Eight people, including three police officers, were injured in the violence, officials said.

The city has said it has incurred more than $1 million in costs related to the violence that has resulted from police actions, vandalism and cleanup.

A mother of two at the City Hall meeting who held her baby in her arms said, "The million dollars could have moved every person in that occupation into a studio apartment.

"You cannot beat us into submission," she said. "When the flood comes, I hope you will have found yourself some paddles or gotten out of the way."

Speaker Adam Gold said Oakland was a city of "the 99 percent" and should support the movement by helping to promote the causes it champions.

"Occupy Oakland has been a public forum on public land on issues important to the public," the Mercury News quoted him as saying. "The city government should work proactively with the camp. They should open its doors to the encampment, a city government of the 99 percent should take inspiration from the encampment and work toward affordable housing and health care."

Alameda County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Jose Duenes said the Occupy movement has hurt the economy.

"We've got no events planned, people are pulling back," he said. "We've got people who are looking at leaving and we don't blame them."

The Occupy campers said Thursday they would tell the businesses vandalized in protest violence they regretted vandalism and would offer to help restore the businesses to their former condition.

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