OAKLAND -- Occupy Oakland has set up a new home -- again.
After an afternoon of peaceful rallies at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and a march of more than 1,000 people through the streets of downtown Oakland, Occupy protesters pushed down a chain-link fence surrounding a vacant city-owned lot at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, pitching about a dozen tents and declaring they have established a new encampment.
"More tents! More tents!" one protest organizer shouted over a sound system that was rolled onto the dirt lot at about 6 p.m., asking people to solicit tent and blanket donations via phone and tweets. Many tents and belongings were confiscated by police when Occupy Oakland campers were removed from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on Monday morning during a pre-dawn raid.
Uptown district residents had spent recent days discouraging protesters from occupying the lot near the Fox Theater and an arts school, while city officials announced Friday that overnight lodging at the property would not be allowed.
Police presence was low-key Saturday night as the rain began pouring down, thinning the crow, with clusters of officers standing along sidewalks surrounding the lot. People continued to dance and mill around, and pop-up tents were set up to serve food.
The rally and march, organized by Occupy Oakland, began about 2 p.m. in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Some members planted small vegetable and flower gardens in planter boxes they built at the edge of the plaza as sprinklers watered the dirt where grass had been trampled by the monthlong occupation.
A drum and music group called Samba Funk led the crowd with a steady beat. Signs were held by members of various unions, as speakers took to a microphone, including Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association.
"We're going to march past the banks, and then over to Lakeview Elementary, which is one of five schools slated for closure next year," she told the crowd. "We want to highlight the connection between what the banks and corporations are doing and what's happening with our schools and our health care and social organizations."
Marchers took to the streets about 2:45 p.m., led by a truck with huge speakers and a banner reading "The Oakland Commune lives!" Marchers, boisterous but peaceful, chanted "We got sold out! Banks got bailed out!" They paused at major bank branches such as Wells Fargo and Chase along the way, placing blue tape over the ATM machines. Some also posted "past-due bills" on the bank windows.
While a small minority of marchers carried gas masks, wore bandanas or masks from the movie "V for Vendetta" over their faces, no vandalism was reported along the march route.
Volunteers from various groups such as the Alameda County Central Labor Council wore green vests and acted as traffic monitors, guiding the marchers and trying to keep anyone from harming buildings.
"Stay on the street!" one volunteer shouted as a handful of people ran over to the Bank of America windows.
The group stopped at Lakeview Elementary at Grand and Lake Park Avenue, where several speakers called for a recall of Oakland school board members. The marchers headed back downtown, passing and mostly ignoring a small group of people protesting the proposed occupation of the Telegraph lot.
"A lot of people in the movement are not interested in social change," said Martin Meeker, 41, a UC Berkeley historian who studies social movements and who lives in a condo about a block from the vacant lot.
He was at the site earlier in the day, engaging in a few heated discussions with proponents of the encampment.
"I'm really saddened to see them coming to this part of town," he said. "This is a mixed residential-commercial neighborhood with two schools in the vicinity. And I can guarantee you none of the people around here are in the 1 percent."
Meeker said he supported the original goals of the movement but has become quite opposed to the tactics. "The camping is not going to further the movement," he said.
Michaela Peters, 47, of Oakland, has an 11-year-old daughter in the dance program at the Oakland Arts school.
"I'm really opposed to the occupation of this lot, out of concern for the safety of our students," she said. "The kids are going to get caught in the crossfire."
Others argued that the NIMBY principle -- "not in my backyard" -- was in play for the residents surrounding the lot.
Dan Schoenfeld, 58, a developer from Marin, supported the new camp.
"I think it's just horrible that people are getting kicked out of their houses," he said. "So they need a place to stay. This country is run by a few wealthy people."
Marylou Beba, 70, of Oakland had marched in the protest, holding a sign that read, "No agenda? What don't they get?"
She said she had been in education for many years, but now works in psychiatry and can't retire because her retirement funds were decimated in the economic slump.
While she supports the Occupy movement, she is opposed to the occupation of the Telegraph lot, "only because it's in a residential neighborhood," she said. "I think we should all occupy our homes, and the Occupy movement should occupy banks, civic centers, places like that."
As events unfolded in Oakland, crews from San Francisco's Department of Public Works removed some Occupy S.F. tents on the grassy areas along the Embarcadero and in front of the Federal Reserve Building.
A large encampment remains at Justin Herman Plaza.
Flashmobs disrupted downtown Oakland and San Francisco on Saturday calling for economic justice and people power. Dancers gathered in the name of the 99 percent they say are being exploited.