Oakland's City Council tonight will consider beefing up enforcement of protest-related laws as a response to escalating Occupy demonstrations. The council is expected to vote on a resolution that would direct the city administrator, mayor and police to crack down on protesters blocking streets and holding rallies without a permit, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
"We have not been aggressively enforcing these rules, which is the reason we're in the place we're in now," Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente told the Chronicle. "The fact is we cannot allow these protests to continue to drain our resources. We should have been doing this a long time ago."
So far, the Oakland Police Department has been selective about enforcing certain protest-related laws, often refraining from arrests or citations unless a protest turns violent. The rationale is to protect First Amendment rights as well as to refrain from antagonizing protesters, many of whom say they're eager for confrontations with police.