Oakland Police Arrest Hundreds of Occupy Protesters, Tear Gas and Projectiles Fired Into Crowd of 2,000
Below are a series of videos showing some of the scenes in Oakland on January 28, 2012 when Oakland Occupiers sought to take over a vacant building to turn into their headquarters – Vacant Take It. After each video is a write-up about the video. The final compilation video includes a write-up by Reuters.
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Jan 29, 2012
Video courtesy: http://www.youtube.com/user/brettnchls, http://www.youtube.com/user/larrytaitai
Police in Oakland, California, have used tear-gas and flash-grenades as a 2,000-strong Occupy Oakland march turned violent, with some protesters claiming that rubber bullets were also fired into the crowd. At least 300 people were arrested.
The demonstrators had attempted to take over vacant buildings to use as their headquarters, they also broke into City Hall and tried to occupy a YMCA. Police spokesman Jeff Thomason told media most of the arrests came around 8 pm local time. Police took many protesters into custody as they marched through the city's downtown area, with some entering a YMCA building.
My camera was continuously rolling, I missed some things but got a lot. I edited it down to try and show all that is necessary to see.
The action to take the Henry J Kaiser building started peaceful. The police diverted our route but the march continued toward the building. A fence was torn down in an attempt to take the building and the police fired tear gas. I did not leave out parts where protesters threw things (including the tear gas canisters that were fired upon them). The point was that the police responded with violence to the destruction of a fence. The protesters naturally reacted to this.
Since the ability to take the building was stopped by the police, the march moved on (there was chatter of taking other buildings or approaching the building from the other side. I am not clear as to what the plan was). The police stopped the march in its tracks. I was filming the two sides in between them and had the first flash bang grenade shot at me which can be seen exploding at my feet in the video. It put me into a state of shock basically and I was pretty jumpy filming the rest (not to mention all of the tear gas I was breathing.
The police responded with violence first in this standoff again. Rubber bullets, tear gas, smoke bombs and flash bang grenades were shot, the protesters retreated. Then the protesters approached again and the process basically repeated itself. During the second approach a young woman was being protected by the crowd and more flash bang grenades were shot at the protesters. From there, the march moved (maybe more accurately forced by the police. I missed another standoff involving clubbing with batons and more tear gas) to Oscar Grant Plaza. A lot more happened at night but since I was not there, you can consult other sources to get the rest of the story.
Associated Press footage
Police fire tear gas at Oakland, 200 arrested
By Laird Harrison and Emmet Burg
Reuters, January 29, 2012
OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - Riot police fought running skirmishes with anti-Wall Street protesters on Saturday, firing tear gas and bean bag projectiles and arresting more than 200 people in clashes that injured three officers and at least one demonstrator.
Three police officers and one protester were injured during the clashes, the city said, without detailing their conditions. Internet broadcasts by activists showed several demonstrators being treated by paramedics or loaded into ambulances.
The scuffles erupted in the afternoon as activists from the Occupy movement sought to take over a shuttered downtown convention center, sparking cat-and-mouse battles that lasted well into the night in a city that has seen tensions between police and protesters boil over repeatedly.
"Occupy Oakland has got to stop using Oakland as its playground," Mayor Jean Quan, who has come under criticism for the city's handling of the Occupy movement, said at a late evening press conference.
"Once again, a violent splinter group of the Occupy movement is engaging in violent actions against Oakland," she said, speaking as officers in riot gear were still lined up against demonstrators in downtown intersections.
City Council President Larry Reid said a group of protesters broke into City Hall, damaging exhibits and burning a U.S. flag.
Occupy Oakland organizers had earlier vowed to take over the apparently empty downtown convention center to establish a headquarters, hoping to revitalize a movement against economic inequality that lost momentum after police cleared protest camps from cities across the country late last year.
They also hoped to draw attention to homelessness in the attempted building takeover, seen as a challenge to authorities who have blocked similar efforts before.
A police spokesman said more than 200 people had been arrested during the day following altercations that began when activists tried to tear down a chain-link fence surrounding the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.
"The 1 percent have all these empty buildings, and meanwhile there are all these homeless people," protester Omar Yassin said.
'IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES'
Police in riot gear moved in, firing smoke grenades, tear gas and bean-bag projectiles to drive the crowd back.
"Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," the Oakland Police Department said in a statement. "Oakland Police Department deployed smoke and tear gas."
Some activists, carrying shields made of plastic garbage cans and corrugated metal, tried to circumvent the police line, and surged toward police on another side of the building as more smoke canisters were fired.
"The city of Oakland welcomes peaceful forms of assembly and freedom of speech but acts of violence, property destruction and overnight lodging will not be tolerated," police said in a statement.
Hundreds of demonstrators regrouped and marched through downtown Oakland, where they were repeatedly confronted by police in riot gear. Police at several points fired flash-bang grenades into the crowd and swung batons at protesters.
A group of demonstrators ultimately made their way to City Hall, where they brought out a U.S. flag and set it on fire before scattering ahead of advancing officers.
Several hundred people remained in the streets well after dark, facing off against lines of riot police holding batons who demonstrators sometimes taunted as "pigs."
Protesters in Oakland loosely affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last year have repeatedly clashed with police during a series of marches and demonstrations.
Elsewhere, the National Park Service said on Friday it would bar Occupy protesters in the nation's capital, one of the few big cities where Occupy encampments survive, from camping in two parks where they have been living since October.
That order, which takes effect on Monday, was seen as a blow to one of the highest-profile chapters of the movement.
(Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Mary Slosson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)
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