The police in Oakland have served eviction notices to Occupy Wall Street protesters after three deaths occurred in anti-Wall Street encampments in separate cities in the U.S.
Mayor Jean Quan directed police to hand out flyers to protesters at the City Hall Plaza on Friday, after a man was shot dead on Thursday. Police warned that the camp was illegal and that protesters face arrest if they do not break up the camp. Lately, police have been complaining about the presence of the camp, saying it was drawing needed personnel from policing crime in the city. An open letter the Oakland Police Officer's Association issued after the shooting, said:
"With last night's homicide, in broad daylight, in the middle of rush hour, Frank Ogawa Plaza is no longer safe...Please leave peacefully, with your heads held high, so we can get police officers back to work fighting crime in Oakland neighborhoods."
NY Daily News reports that the cause of the shooting is still unknown, but the victim was identified as an African-American in his 20s, from Richmond, California, named Alex. But it is not certain whether he was the intended victim or only an unfortunate bystander. Occupy Oakland organizers, according to NY Daily News, have insisted that the shooting had nothing to do with the camp. A statement on the official Twitter feed of the camp, on Thursday, said:
“The only involvement camp had in shooting incident was medics being first responders to the incident."
On the same day the Oakland shooting occurred, a military veteran from Chittenden County committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The incident occurred in an Occupy tent in City Hall Park, Burlington, Vermont. After the suicide, Burlington Police have been considering breaking up the Occupy camp. Burlington Police Deputy Chief Anid Higbee, said: "Our responsibility is to keep the public safe. When there is a discharge of a firearm in a public place like this it's good cause to be concerned, greatly concerned."
A similar tragic event occurred at the Salt Lake City Occupy encampment on Friday. A man was found dead in his tent. Police suspect he died from a combination of drug use and carbon monoxide. NY Daily News reports that after the death, Police Chief Chris Burbank ordered the protesters to leave the park in which they had been encamped for several weeks and threatened they would be arrested if they refused.
Reuters reports protest organizer Jesse Fruwrith, said many of the protesters are ready to stay in the park and face police arrest. Fruwrith said:
"We were caught off guard this afternoon. We believed we had a cooperative relationship with the city."
One of the protesters Nathan Clark, is a homeless person. He has vowed not to give up his new "home" in the Occupy camp. He told Reuters:
"...us being shut down ain't cool. I'm staying here...I'm gonna fight this cause. I'm gonna stay my ground."
Reuters reports police say Occupy Portland protesters have begun digging a reinforced hole and preparing for battle with the police after Mayor Sam Adams gave them until Saturday midnight to break up their encampments in two parks. According to police sources:
"There may even be as many as 150 anarchists who will arrive soon...There is information that people may be in the trees during a police action and that there are people who are attempting to obtain a large number of gas masks."
Occupy Portland protesters have, however, denied the report, saying that their protest is non-violent.
Police in many cities across the U.S. are now worried that the Occupy encampments may be providing haven for crooks. New York City officials, after several clashes with the protesters, have been unwilling to order break up of the Occupy camps.