Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is quickly solidifying her reputation as one of the most spineless public officials in the country. After throwing her support behind the Occupy Oakland’s plan to “shut down the city” this week, Quan now seems surprised that the protest quickly spiraled into a violent riot that left eight people injured, dozens of businesses vandalized, and untold financial damage in cleanup cost and police overtime pay.
Unfortunately for the besieged people of Oakland, the destruction hasn’t convinced Quan to kick the Occupiers out of the city parks.
In fact, she’s now defending the movement, and blaming the havoc on a band of rogue provocateurs that had been “hiding out” among the peaceful OWS activists:
City officials said police acted in response to “a select group of people” who vandalized property, set several fires, assaulted police officers and broke into a downtown building.
“We had the opportunity to isolate the main group of people who seemed to be hiding in the crowd all day,” Mayor Jean Quan told a news conference. “The police, I think, very effectively got in and surrounded and arrested them.”
But apparently the Occupiers didn’t think anyone deserved to be arrested at the protest. A spokesperson for Occupy Oakland’s media committee, Laura Long, issued a statement yesterday, dutifully condemning the property destruction, but calling the police action unnecessary:
Protester Laura Long said it was unfortunate the rallies in the city “should be marred by broken windows and graffiti.”
Still, she called the police action “unprovoked.”
The Occupiers have also refused to take responsibility for the violence, pinning the blame on anonymous fringe agitators. Out of neighborly spirit, the activists have generously promised to discuss the ways they can help the vandalized businesses during their next General Assembly meeting – a great relief for the victimized storeowners, I’m sure.