Although it drew hundreds to its rally and march Saturday, the Occupy Berkeley protest remains smaller than neighboring Occupy Oakland.
The protest, made up of a motley collection of a few tables and signs in the small courtyard outside the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue, is in the second week of its existence. The movement began Oct. 8, a week earlier than planned, and at its most populous has seen anywhere from 60 to 80 people in attendance, particularly at its general assembly meetings every evening at 6 p.m., according to protesters. Although protesters began simultaneously occupying Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park Saturday, only a handful have slept there every night.
The Berkeley movement is in stark contrast with the broad expanse of tents, multitudes of tables and plethora of signs that can be found covering the Frank Ogawa Plaza — which the protesters are calling the Oscar Grant Plaza — in Oakland.
The encampment, called the Oakland Commune, is one of two sites taken over by the Occupy Oakland movement, the other located in Snow Park. The Commune, which is made up of around 100 tents, has been in place since Oct. 10, according to the movement’s website.
The site has a considerable amount of infrastructure — committees in charge of various sectors including security, child care, sanitation, first aid and food have been set up, each with a corresponding tent, according to the website.
Both movements come as part of the Occupy movements that are sweeping the world, sparked by Occupy Wall Street, the Wall Street demonstration that began last month and remains ongoing.
Occupy Oakland has planned several upcoming events, including its first mass rally and march set for Nov. 11 and 12, respectively.
“We live in a world where unemployment and staggering levels of debt are the new normal, where poverty and homelessness are met by police violence and incarceration,” the protesters said on the Oakland protest’s website. “The entire global economy is broken, and politicians in the US and elsewhere remain powerless to do anything about it. It’s time to take power into our own hands, to occupy the spaces from which we have been excluded and reclaim everything that has been stolen from us.”
Despite the larger size and greater infrastructure of the Oakland Commune over its counterpart in Berkeley, protesters in Berkeley have chosen to stay, citing various reasons like family, jobs and ties to the city.
Occupiers in Oakland stand in solidarity with Berkeley and the worldwide Occupy movement, according to the movement’s website.
While Occupy Berkeley is still nascent, it too held a rally and march on Oct. 15 as part of an “International Day of Action.”
Demonstrations have taken place in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in cities both in and outside of the United States, including Iowa City, Seattle, London, Berlin and Johannesburg.