Homelessness Activists Speak About Treatment After Arrests at Recent Protest

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A group of activists called the Housing Justice Village gathered Monday to allow people arrested in a recent homelessness protest to speak about their experiences.

The protest took place at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on Nov. 25. During the protest, activists had set up tents in the plaza to protest demolition of camps, eviction from housing, and towing of recreational vehicles.

Police arrested 22 people that attended the protest on the suspicion of resisting arrest. Six out the 22 arrestees spoke about their personal experiences, thoughts on homelessness in Oakland, and their arrest.

"Protesters, as well as bystanders, were arrested and jailed with the outrageous bail of $5,000 per person to discourage us from continuing," said Rosa Pergams, one of the arrestees. "However, we will not be discouraged from continuing our struggle to demand housing and dignity for all."

Genevieve Southwick, another arrestee, said personal property was taken while they were waiting to be transferred to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

None of the arrestees were given any claim receipts or information on how to obtain their remaining belongings.

"Processing us through Santa Rita taught us a lot, including that by arresting 22 protesters without a real cause, the jail's processing system was so backed up, weekenders, and others being processed out, were hung up for hours in the backlog, violating their due process rights," Southwick said.

Another arrestee, Jazmine Davis, spoke about the women she had met during her time at Santa Rita Jail.

Davis said women at the jail were being ignored and waited long hours when they needed to be processed or transferred out. In addition to that, women in the jail were not given basic necessities such as food, toiletries, and privacy.

Speakers also made comments about Mayor Libby Schaaf and city crews that clear homeless camps around Oakland.

"When Libby Schaaf and her people come to an encampment and think anything other than 'How can I help you,' they are violating basic human rights," said Steven DeCaprio, interim executive director of Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, a Berkeley-based group.

Needa Bee, founder of Housing Justice Village, said that once the rain clears, there will be plans to protest again.

Housing Justice Village will post updates using text notifications. When texting HOMENOW to 797979, recent updates for meetings and protests will be sent as a text message.

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