October 26, 2011 by staff
Oakland Protest, Police fired tear gas at least five times on Tuesday night on a crowd of several hundred protesters occupy the back of the movement that tried unsuccessfully to recover a camp outside Oakland City Hall that the police had cleared more than 12 hours before.
The police gave repeated warnings to the protesters to disperse from the entrance to Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway before firing tear gas grenades into the crowd at 7:45 pm Police announced over a loudspeaker that those who refused to leave would be subject to “chemicals”.
The protesters scattered in both directions on Broadway as the tear gas canisters and flash bang grenades fired several. Regrouping, the demonstrators tried to help each other and offer each eye drops.
An injured woman, others said they had been beaten by one of the boats, was carried by two protesters.
One protester, 35 year old Jerry Smith, said a tear gas bomb had fallen at his feet and sprayed in the face.
“I have a feeling that he was serious, but people are not going to be intimidated,” said Smith. “We can do this peacefully, but not down.”
Police forcibly dispersed the crowd with tear gas again around 9:30 pm, when protesters began throwing objects at them. As the protesters dispersed, police closed off streets of Broadway between 13 and 16.
Minutes later, the protesters regrouped in the 15 Street entrance to the plaza. The protesters began throwing objects back. The police responded by firing tear gas grenades more.
The protesters were trying to make the promise to re-take a camp occupied by Oakland activists had occupied for 15 days until evicted by police early Tuesday.
The protest began the evening at 5 pm, when about 400 people began a march from the main library at 14th and Madison streets to the plaza, that the police barricades and city officials had declared would be closed for at least several days .
“Let’s go and claim what was already ours, called Oscar Grant Plaza and what they call the City,” said Krystof Lopaur protester, referring to the unarmed man shot by a BART police in January 2009 .
At first, the scene outside City Hall was largely peaceful, but it was a different story a few blocks west on Washington Street.
Officers in riot gear surrounded the demonstrators around 6 pm and tried to arrest a person, since about 50 more around them shouting: “Let him go, I go.”
Protesters threw paint turquoise and red the riot police. Some led the crowd in singing “This is why we call them pigs.”
Others begged to be peaceful agitators and return to the march, some protesters tried to fight with the police and beaten and kicked in the back.
Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said his officers had no choice but to respond with tear gas. The crowd rose to its peak over 1000 at 8:30 pm, and two officers were wounded in the paint and chemicals thrown at them.
“We feel that the deployment of gas was necessary to protect our officers,” he told a news conference.
Although police did not provide a series of arrests at the rally on Tuesday night, he said five people involved with moving occupations had been arrested after the raid.
Some protesters who avoided conflict and wanted to show his support for the movement occupy Wall Street were upset by the violent twists.
“Do not force the police in this situation,” said Helen Walker, 46, a nurse at Albany. “It was caused entirely, and if I could, I would have stopped those idiots throwing the paint.”
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