Occupy Oakland – Stacks of barricades, a broken window and a handful of protesters and police are the only signs early Wednesday in downtown Oakland of a melee that broke out the night before after Oakland Occupy’s tent city was broken up by police. By morning, calm had returned to downtown, a contrast to Tuesday evening, when police lobbed tear gas to disperse 1,000 protesters.
A few protesters lingered this morning across the street from Frank Ogawa Plaza at Broadway and 14th Street, where the tent city was dismantled by police in an early Tuesday raid. Crews were power-washing the plaza. One visible sign of the melee was a broken window on a vacant storefront on the 1300 block of Broadway.
“We had to deploy gas to stop people from throwing rocks and bottles at police,” said Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, adding that he was unsure about what other crowd control methods were used by outside police agencies. There were unconfirmed reports that flash-bang grenades and wood dowels were launched at protesters. Following the pre-dawn raid, about 500 protesters initially met at the main branch of the Oakland library at 4 p.m., chanting that they would “reclaim” what they now call Oscar Grant Plaza named for the unarmed man who was killed in 2009 by a BART police officer.
At one of the most tense moments near Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, sparks from explosives thrown at police by protesters and tear gas canisters could be seen exploding over the scattering crowd. The number of protest injuries were not immediately known, but two officers were hurt when protesters splattered them with paint.
As of late Tuesday, the crowd had not dispersed and an earlier tweet by Occupy Oakland organizers gave locations where the group wanted people to congregate and urged demonstrators to “bring bottles.”
Chief Jordan said 102 people were arrested Tuesday, the majority taken into custody before dawn. Many were taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and held on $10,000 bail each. Occupy Oakland organizers flooded the office of Mayor Jean Quan and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office with demands the protesters be cited and released. Those arrested included people from as far away as Florida and Illinois, a city official said. Police said the protesters would likely be out of jail by Wednesday.
Frank H. Ogawa Plaza will remain closed until public health and safety conditions can be improved; this includes debris, human waste and hazardous materials removal. A spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild said two people suffered broken hands and one other was hospitalized with a head injury following the morning raid.Occupy Oakland began on Oct. 10 in support of Occupy Wall Street and was originally in protest of widespread unemployment and what protesters called corporate greed.
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