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January 30, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 7A

Egypt Foreign
Ministry ends
U.S. lobbying

Occupy Oakland protestors burn an American flag found inside Oakland City Hall during an Occupy Oakland protest on the steps of City Hall, Saturday.
Occupy protest resurfaces in
Oakland, clashes with police

Over 400 arrested,
0 City Hall broken
into and vandalized
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - For
weeks the protests had waned,
with only a smattering of people
taking to Oakland's streets for
occasional weekend marches
that bore little resemblance to
the headline-grabbing Occupy
demonstrations of last fall.
Then came Saturday, which
started peacefully enough - a
midday rally at City Hall and
a march. But hours later, the
scene near downtown Oakland
had dramatically deteriorated:
clashes punctuated by rock and
bottle throwing by protest-
ers and volleys of tear gas from
police, and a City Hall break-in
that left glass cases smashed,
graffiti spray-painted on walls
and an American flag burned.
More than 400 people were
arrested on charges ranging
from failure to disperse to van-
dalism, police spokesman Sgt.
Jeff Thomason said. At least
three officers and one protester
were injured.
On Sunday, Oakland officials
vowed to be ready if Occupy
protesters try to mount another
large-scale demonstration. Pro-
testers, meanwhile, decried Sat-
urday's police tactics as illegal
and threatened to sue.
Mayor Jean Quan person-
ally inspected damage caused by
dozens of people who broke into
City Hall. She said she wants a
court order to keep Occupy pro-
testers who have been arrested
several times out of Oakland,
which has been hit repeatedly
by demonstrations that have
cost the financially troubled city
about $5 million.
Quan also called on the
loosely organized movement to
"stop using Oakland as its play-
"People in the community and
people in the Occupy movement
have to stop making excuses for
this behavior," she said.

Saturday's protests - the
most turbulent since Oakland
police forcefully dismantled an
Occupy encampment in Novem-
ber - came just days after the
announcement of a new round
of actions. The group said it
planned to use a vacant building
as a social center and political
hub and threatened to try to shut
down the Port of Oakland for a
third time, occupy the airport
and take over City Hall.
After the mass arrests, the
Occupy Oakland Media Com-
mittee criticized the police's
conduct, saying that most of
the arrests were made illegally
because police failed to allow
protesters to disperse. It threat-
ened legal action.
"Contrary to their own pol-
icy, the OPD gave no option of
leaving or instruction on how
to depart. These arrests are
completely illegal, and this will
probably result in another class
action lawsuit against the OPD,"
a release from the group said.
Deputy Police Chief Jeff Isra-
el told reporters late Saturday
that protesters gathered unlaw-
fully and police gave them mul-
tiple verbal warnings to disband.
"These people gathered with
the intent of unlawfully enter-
ing into a building that does not
belong to them and assaulting
the police," Israel said. "It was
not a peaceful group."
Earlier this month, a court-
appointed monitor submitted
a report to a federal judge that
included "serious concerns"
about the department's handling
of the Occupy protests. Police
officials say they were in "close
contact" with the federal moni-
tor during the protests.
The national Occupy Wall
Street movement, which
denounces corporate excess
and economic inequality, began
in New York City in the fall but
has been largely dormant lately.
Oakland, New York and Los
Angeles were among the cit-
ies with the largest and most
vocal Occupy protests early on.
The demonstrations ebbed after

those cities used force to move
out hundreds of demonstrators
who had set up tent cities.
Caitlin Manning, an Occupy
Oakland member, believes that
Saturday's protest caught the
world's attention.
"The Occupy movement is
back on the map," Manning said
Sunday. "We think those who
have been involved in move-
ments elsewhere should be
In Oakland, social activ-
ism and civic unrest have long
marked this rough-edged city
of nearly 400,000 across the bay
from San Francisco. Beset by
poverty, crime and a decades-
long tense relationship between
the police and the community,
its streets have seen clashes
between officers and protesters,
including anti-draft protests in
the 1960s that spilled into town
from neighboring Berkeley.
Before the Occupy movement
spawned violence, mass arrests
and two shutdowns of the Port
of Oakland, the city was disrupt-
ed by a series of often-violent
demonstrations over a white Bay
Area Rapid Transit officer's fatal
shooting of an unarmed black
man named Oscar Grant on New
Year's Day 2009.
Occupy protesters have
invoked Grant's memory, refer-
ring to the downtown plaza
named after Frank Owaga,
the city's first Asian-American
councilmember, by renaming
the former space they occupied
with tents as Oscar Grant Plaza.
Hundreds of Occupiers again
descended on the plaza to reflect
on Saturday and discuss what's
Dozens of officers, who main-
tained guard at City Hall over-
night, were also on the scene
"They were never able to
occupy a building outside of
City Hall," Interim Police Chief
Howard Jordan said Sunday.
"We suspect they will try to go
to the convention center again.
They will not get in."
Jordan said they will call

for mutual aid from other law
enforcement agencies if needed
Sunday and defended his offi-
cers' response to the protesters
on Saturday.
"No we have not changed
our tactics," Jordan said. "The
demonstrators have changed
their tactics, which forces us to
respond differently."
Quan, who faces two mayoral
recall attempts, has been criti-
cized for past police tear-gas-
sing, though she said she was not
aware of the plans. On Saturday,
she thought the police response
was measured, adding that she
has lost patience with the costly
and disruptive protests.
She also said she hopes pros-
ecutors will seek a stay-away
order against protesters who
have been arrested multiple
"It appears that most of them
constantly come from outside of
Oakland," Quan said. "I think
a lot of the young people who
come to these demonstrations
think they're being revolution-
ary when they're really hurting
the people they claim that they
are representing."
Saturday's events began when
a group assembled outside City
Hall and marched through the
streets, disrupting traffic as they
threatened to take over a vacant
convention center.
The protesters then walked
to the convention center, where
some started tearing down
perimeter fencing and "destroy-
ing construction equipment"
shortly before 3 p.m., police said.
The number of demonstrators
swelled as the day wore on, with
afternoon estimates ranging up
to 2,000 people, although city
leaders say that figure was much
closer to several hundred.
A majority of the arrests
came after police took scores of
protesters into custody as they
marched through downtown,
with some entering a YMCA
building, Thomason said.
One of those taken into custo-
dy at the facility was KGO radio
reporter Kristin Hanes.

Rupture comes as
Egypt bars several
Westerners from
leaving country
CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's For-
eign Ministry said yesterday it
has ended a contract with three
Washington lobbying firms to
cut expenses, denying reports
that the Americans were the
ones to sever the contract.
The rupture occurred as Cairo
faces criticism from Washington
for banning at least10Americans
and Europeans from leaving the
country as part of an investig
ation into foreign-funded civil
society organizations. Among
those barred was Sam LaHood
of the U.S.-based International
Republican Institute, who is the
son of U.S. Transportation Sec-
retary Ray LaHood.
The ban sparked anger in the
United States, and Washington
warned on Tuesday that the
campaign raised concerns about
Egypt's transition to democracy
and could jeopardize American
aid that Egypt's battered econ-
omy needs badly after a year of
political and social unrest.
The travel ban was part of an
Egyptian criminal investigation
into foreign-funded democracy
organizations after soldiers
raided the offices of 10 such
groups last month, including the
IRI and its sister organization,
the National Democratic Insti-
tute, as well as several Egyptian
The Egyptian investigation is
closely linked with the political
turmoil that has engulfed the
country since the fall of Hosni
Mubarak nearly a year ago. The
generals who took power after
Mubarak's fall have accused
"foreign hands" of being behind
protests against their rule, and
they frequently depict the pro-
testers themselves as receiving
foreign funds in a plot to desta-
bilize the country.
The December raids have
drew sharp U.S. criticism, and

President Barack Obama has
spoken by telephone with Field
Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the
head of the ruling military coun-
cil, to emphasize "the role that
these organizations can play in
civil society," State Department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said Thursday.
The Egyptian Foreign Minis-
try's statement was issued two
days after Politico reported that
former Republican Rep. Bob Liv-
ingston, former Democratic Rep.
Toby Moffett and longtime lob-
byist Tony Podesta ended their
contract with the Egyptian gov-
The lobbyists confirmed in
a statement Saturday that they
were immediately terminat-
ing their four-year relationship
with the Egyptian government.
"We hope that Egyptians
continue to enjoy the deepen-
ing of democracy in their coun-
try, and that Egypt remains a
strong, stable and vital ally of
the United States," the three
lobbyists said in a joint state-
Politico reported earlier that
the firms came under criticism
after circulating talking points
justifying Egyptian security
forces' raids on a number of
NGOs including American
Meanwhile, a delegation from
Egypt's Defense Ministry has
arrived in New York, Egypt's
state news agency reported.
MENA quoted military atta-
che Gen. Mohammed el-Kishki
as saying that the visit was
aimed at discussing "coopera-
tion between the two countries
in military affairs."
Egypt's army, which took
power after the February 2011
ouster of Hosni Mubarak,
receives 1.3 billion dollars a year
in U.S. foreign assistance.
The country's aid pack-
age has come under pressure
by members of Congress who
want assurances that Egypt
will abide by a 1979 peace treaty
with Israel, and that the mili-
tary rulers will respect demo-
cratic freedoms.



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