Protesters vow to erect new tents in Oakland

By Terry Collins

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 18 2011 4:26 p.m. MST

A protester chants his slogans in front of police officers during a rally in Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. Occupy Wall Street demonstrators held modestly sized, but energetic rallies around the country Thursday to celebrate two months since the movements birth and signal that they aren't ready to quit yet. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Associated Press

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Anti-Wall Street protesters vowed Friday to set up tents at a downtown Oakland park and empty lot less than a week after police removed an encampment outside City Hall.

Occupy Oakland members said at a heated news conference that the latest encampment would be set up Saturday in the revitalized Uptown district.

Some residents condemned the plan for the camp at the site of a recently installed monument titled, "Remember Them" that features a sculpture of 25 prominent civil rights and humanitarian figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Mother Teresa and Mohandas Gandhi.

"It's strategically not a good move," said Zappa Montag, whose daughter attends a nearby school. "It doesn't make sense. This is setting up a conflict with this community."

Johannes Wallmann, who lives across the street from the park, welcomed the protesters.

"Obviously it will be an inconvenience but it all makes sense, given the monument and all. I don't want this to be a NIMBY kind of thing," he said, referring to the expression: "not in my back yard."

The planned encampment would be adjacent to the renovated Fox Theater and across the street from the Oakland School for the Arts, a charter school for 600 middle- and high-school students.

Some parents and school officials expressed concern that the encampment and any potential problems might disturb classes or pose a safety risk to students.

Kate Schatz, a literary arts teacher at the school who has participated in Occupy Oakland, agreed.

"I don't think they did enough research," Schatz said about the protesters. "I agree with everything they are supporting, except for this choice."

Donn Harris, the school's executive director, said she would take a wait-and-see approach and keep talking with protesters.

Shon Kae, a spokesman for Occupy Oakland, said the group overwhelmingly voted for the new site.

"No matter what we do, it seems like tents are becoming the most feared thing in the United States," Kae said. "It's like they're becoming the new weapons of mass destruction."

Mayor Jean Quan said Thursday that any camping on city property is illegal and police would have a strategy to prevent any encampment by Occupy Oakland members.

Across San Francisco Bay, the health department declared the Occupy San Francisco encampment in Justin Herman Plaza a public health nuisance. However, the demonstrators remained in the plaza.

Barbara Garcia, head of the city's public health department, toured the grassy area in the heart of the financial district and across from the city's iconic Ferry Building.

She said authorities found feces and inadequate toilet facilities. Conditions for the spread of respiratory illnesses have also been present and she noted at least one case of scabies.

Associated Press writer Beth Duff-Brown in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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