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Jessamyn is a television journalist and photographer.

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Oakland, CA

"Oakland: Jews Call for Ceasefire".

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In downtown Oakland on Monday, the rotunda inside the Oakland Federal Building was occupied by several hundred demonstrators protesting the war in the Middle East. The event, linked to a national week of Jewish-led protests calling for a ceasefire, concluded with arrests or detentions for those who refused to leave. Protesters, advocating for a ceasefire, displayed signs reading "Jews say Ceasefire Now." Around 8 p.m., law enforcement began arresting demonstrators who remained. The protest, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, involved approximately 600 participants. This demonstration coincided with President Biden's upcoming visit to the Bay Area for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled for Tuesday. The protesters, asserting this to be the first mass Jewish sit-in on the West Coast, mirrored similar actions in New York's Grand Central Station and the Israeli consulate in Chicago. Described as the largest Jewish protest on the West Coast over the Middle East conflict, Jewish Voice for Peace called on President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to follow the lead of Oakland Representative Barbara Lee in demanding an immediate ceasefire. Federal employees evacuated when protesters took over the building, as violence against Jews has been escalating across the U.S.Notable figures, including filmmaker Boots Riley and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, participated in the protest. Riley stated on social media, "The government of Israel does not act on behalf of, nor represent Jewish people," expressing willingness to leave only in handcuffs.The demonstration emphasized the interconnected safety of both Jewish and Palestinian communities. Law enforcement initially showed restraint during the protest, with Oakland Police Department officers assisting the Federal Protective Service. The Streets around the federal building were closed, and yellow police tape was present. Homeland Security issued dispersal orders around 8 p.m., leading to multiple arrests after approximately 450 people refused to leave.

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