In what appears to have been a coordinated action Thursday evening, Occupy protesters in Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California staged protests and have occupied the offices of Obama campaign headquarters in both locations.
A hostage negotiator is said to be speaking with a small group of protesters who, arms linked, locked themselves inside the Oakland office. It appears they may have entered the building during normal operating hours but have since remained inside beyond the office’s regularly scheduled closing time. Police have been on the scene and were arresting the protesters at the time of this writing.
One notable protester — Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran (pictured above) who was injured and hospitalized during a clash between Occupy Oakland and law enforcement in October 2011 — voluntarily left the building after the Oakland protesters were given a thirty minute warning tonight to leave or be arrested. Several of those who were arrested are said to have done so voluntarily. Olsen joked on Twitter that he felt a desire to urinate inside a police car.
Many of the Oakland protesters claim to be associated with Veterans for Peace, a prominent fixture in the institutional left’s anti-war movement. Protesters held signs and chanted in support of Bradley Manning, the soldier who currently faces trial for providing classified materials to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Manning was arrested in 2010 and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains on the run from US extradition, having most recently been granted asylum in Ecuador.
Protesters inside the Obama campaign headquarters in both Portland and Oakland were said to have issued a list of demands to the Obama administration. They include: “that President Obama apologize for statements they said he made regarding Manning’s guilt, that the president ensures soldiers are free from pre-trial punishment, alleging that Manning was held in long periods of isolation, and that Manning be pardoned.”
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