Just when most people thought the Occupy movement had packed up for the winter, at least 400 Occupy protesters found themselves arrested after a day of complete chaos broke out around Oakland which caused police to use tear gas, bean bags and rubber bullets.
City officials said "extremist" demonstrators were using Oakland as a playground for the movement. Protesters have accused the city of overreacting and using heavy-handed tactics, especially after the October incident where a former Marine, Scott Olsen, was critically injured during a march. Reportedly he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister.
Some demonstrators broke into City Hall and burned an American flag, other activists threw rocks, bottles and a fence was dismantled near a convention center Saturday.
Police said they warned the protesters to disperse three times and immediately kettled the protesters and arrested them by using zip ties on hundreds of them. Spencer, a livestream announcer, said he had not heard them say to disperse even once.
Most were taken away in buses after sitting for hours with their hands zip tied behind their backs. One woman left screaming, "You're hurting me, it hurts, stop!" She was taken away in a van still screaming.
According to Occupy Oakland's livestream, Oakland police used flash grenades and tear gas to attempt to control a crowd of around 2,000 Occupy protesters.
Saturday's Occupy Oakland march came out of the Occupy Oakland Rise-Up Festival. According to the Occupy Oakland site, "The Oakland Rise-up Festival is still on for Sunday and will be occurring at the plaza at Oscar Grant Plaza!" (in spite of all the arrests).
Across from the YMCA, a livestreaming announcer named Spencer had a camera running with live updates out of a third floor bathroom apartment building window, "Ive never seen this many people arrested."
"About 150 or so are sitting with zip ties as cuffs, one bus of around 60 were taken away already--now another just pulled away," he said.
Spencer said he saw a sign on a business that read, "No one can arrest an idea whose time has come."
"Who knows how much this will cost the city of Oakland--probably over a million," Spencer said. "There are hundreds of police out here tonight."
From the Occupy Oakland chatroom, chenae posted: crowd kettled, hundreds of arests already, in 5 min countdown for mass arrest
It all started around noon when more than 400 got together in Ogawa Plaza to plan their march and then they took off around the city with more joining.
According to police, Occupy activists "began tearing down perimeter fences around" the Kaiser center around 2:30 p.m., with the first dispersal demand requested just before 3 p.m.
Police broke out the riot gear after 6 p.m. to make their presence known in an attempt to disperse the crowd, but compliance was not on the mind or plans of the Occupy activists, even though they chanted "Let us disperse."
"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.
Serious injuries were not reported although one protester reportedly had blood on his face.
Without details shared, at least three officers sustained injuries.
One police officer named Jeff Thomason said arrests were made because the crowd started throwing objects at them during the afternoon rally.
Occupy protesters were responsible for tearing down a fence, according to MSNBC News.
_Klio_ Klio: Police just shot protester in small of her back when she was less than a foot away. Crying, limping. #occupyoakland @subverzo
hyphy_republic Jaime Omar Yassin: More cops in front of city hall, lots of folks in OGP, motorcycle cops now on way into plaza, looking like total assholes on a power trip
OccupyOakland Occupy Oakland: Oakland city hall was occupied for 15 minutes, and as far as we know everyone go out in time.
For continuous information go to: Occupy Oakland livestream
Los Angeles Times
Occupy Oakland Livestream