11 Oakland Protesters Told To Stay Away From Plaza

Published February 1, 2012 3:54AM (EST)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Eleven people who were arrested during the weekend's turbulent Occupy Oakland protests were ordered Tuesday to stay away from the plaza outside Oakland City Hall that serves as the movement's main staging area, and city officials said they hoped the move would quell future disturbances.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said two judges granted her office's request for the stay-away orders during the demonstrators' arraignments. Four men facing felony charges, such as assault on a police officer and drug possession, were directed to keep away from both Frank Ogawa Plaza and the Oakland Convention Center.

Seven protesters charged with misdemeanors such as vandalism, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest may not go within 300 feet of the plaza. Prosecutors hope to secure a similar order against an eighth person whose arraignment was postponed for a week, O'Malley said.

"While we respect every citizen's right to protest peacefully, we will not tolerate individuals who come to Oakland with an organized strategy to riot, clash with police officers, vandalize property and wreak havoc upon the city," she said.

The dozen people already charged were among more than 400 people arrested Saturday when a midday march to protest economic inequality devolved into a clash between some rock-throwing protesters and police who responded with tear gas. City Hall was broken into, vandalized and an American flag taken from there burned.

O'Malley says her office is reviewing police reports with an eye toward charging and seeking stay-away orders for additional protesters.

The mass arrests came more than two months after a series of highly publicized clashes between Oakland police and demonstrators associated with the city's offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In November, officers disbanded the tent city that Occupy Oakland supporters erected in the City Hall plaza, but local activists have continued holding biweekly planning meetings there.

After surveying the damage from Saturday's melee, Mayor Jean Quan said she wants a court order to keep Occupy protesters who have been arrested several times out of Oakland, saying repeated demonstrations have cost the financially troubled city about $5 million.

By Salon Staff

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