Camp Outside Oakland City Hall Protesting Treatment of Homeless

A camp dubbed Housing Justice Village set up Sunday at Frank Ogawa Plaza near Oakland City Hall to provide a safe place for the city's homeless population and protest what organizers say are civil and human rights violations committed by the city.

The activists are calling for an end to what they say are "cruel and inhumane anti-homeless practices" by the city, including eviction and demolition of camps, and towing of recreational vehicles.

The village camp at City Hall is intended "to create space to give our folks the opportunity for some healing after all the trauma and brutality we have all endured," said Housing Justice Village founder Needa Bee in a news release.

The camp opened around noon Sunday with about 18 people who Bee said have nowhere else to go, along with both "housed and unhoused" supporters. "We're tired of being pushed around and treated like we're not human," Bee said, adding that "People are welcome to come down and find out how they can plug in" to help the effort.

"We're here to protest on behalf of unhoused folks and ask questions" about funding and solutions the group says were approved two years ago but have not been implemented. The homeless population in Oakland has doubled during that time, Bee said.

"We call it a village, but it's definitely bigger than just a village," Bee said. "The reality is the mayor (Libby Schaff) has an amazing PR machine and we want to utilize this time to get the truth out."

Organizers say they plan to distribute meals, make legal support available, hold discussions on solutions to homelessness, offer skill training, and nightly moving screenings.

The camp is posting updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheVillageInOakland/ and on Twitter at @VillageOakland.

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