Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, under attack from inside and outside her administration, announced late Wednesday that Occupy Oakland can return to the plaza in front of City Hall, an abrupt reversal that followed a night of street violence Tuesday and widespread criticism over her handling of the crisis.
As more than 1,000 people descended on Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Wednesday night, Quan called for “a minimum police presence” and said nonviolent protesters would be allowed to re-occupy the area near City Hall. One day earlier, with Quan’s authorization, 400 police officers had dismantled the tent city.
Quan has been facing a growing firestorm over what some describe as a tentative, out-of-touch approach to the crisis. Earlier, Quan admitted that she had not known that police were planning to evict the protesters early Tuesday morning, saying only that she had signed off on the plan.
Dan Siegel, the mayor’s longtime friend and legal adviser, said he was considering resigning over the raid. He added that city officials were divided over how to handle Occupy Oakland.
“I think a big mistake was made yesterday. A big mistake,” Siegel said during an appearance on the plaza. “I have made that clear to the mayor.”