Parker Elementary protesters cut locks to occupy Oakland school: district

Oakland Unified School District says a group of protesters will not leave Parker Elementary School – one of several schools that was shuttered because the district said it's not financially viable to keep open any longer. 

The group, known as the Parker Liberation Activists, has been occupying the school since May when the district decided to shut the school down. 

That prompted Oakland Unified School District officials to change the locks and set the alarm.

But school district officials said that did not stop someone from breaking in to the school. 

On Thursday evening, some protesters were removed, but returned by cutting the locks to the school, officials said. 

A district spokesperson said the group was trespassing. 

Video posted to social media shows several accounts of what appears to be a clash between protesters and security officials. 

"You are not allowing our community to be heard, you realize what you're doing right now, right?" one protester shouted at a man guarding the door. "By hurting women and children while we're trying to get into a building."

Another protester yelled: "Don't touch me! Don't touch me!"

The video also showed the protesters rushing the door to get in and what appears to be a security guard trying to block the entrance. 

Oakland City Councilwoman Carroll Fife was there and tweeted: "I was shocked by the level of force that I witnessed. Since things have definitely escalated - the organizing/organizers must do the same."

The Parker Liberation Activists said they were met with "excessive force by the OUSD security forces," saying that more than 10 people sustained minor to moderate injuries, and two people went to hospital for treatment.

The activists continue to argue that the school closures are racist, and that since they've "liberated" Parker Elementary, they've been running summer programs, handing out food, holding voter registration drives and hosting community town halls to encourage community engagement.

However, in a statement, the district countered that officials are very concerned about children sleeping onsite in "unsafe conditions" and that the adults were running an "unsafe and unlicensed child care program."

Parker Elementary is one of 11 schools that the school board voted to close or merge for financial reasons, as many of the campuses are under enrolled.