What started as a peaceful ‘Occupy’ movement protest by 7,000 people resulted in the whole port of Oakland being shut down and dozens of protesters being arrested by police in riot gear.
According to My Way News the demonstrators ‘…marched through downtown to break into a vacant building, shattering windows, spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way’.
Occupy Oakland blocks the port
For nearly five hours 3,000 of the ‘Occupyers’ blocked port exits and streets with illegally parked cars and makeshift fences.
The port authorities claimed they had been forced to shut down the port due to health and safety concerns but hoped to have service resumed later in the day.
Some of the demonstrators also tried to ‘reclaim’ the Travelers Aid building ‘for the people’.
Oakland came to prominence in the Occupy movement when an Iraq war veteran, Scott Olsen, was seriously injured seemingly by a police fired gas canister some days ago.
Boots Riley, one of the Occupy leaders is quoted as saying "we put together an ideological principle that the mainstream media wouldn't talk about two months ago" as the organisers claimed the day a victory for their movement.
The official response to this was:
"Oakland Police responded to a late night call that protesters had broken into and occupied a downtown building and set several simultaneous fires," the statement read. "The protesters began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles, and flaming objects at responding officers. Several private and municipal buildings sustained heavy vandalism. Dozens of protesters wielding shields were surrounded and arrested."
Occupy New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia
Other ‘Occupyers’ across the US also staged smaller scale demonstrations in support of Oakland, with 100 uniformed veterans marching in NY.
Oakland demonstrators reported running a gauntlet of tear gas as well as flashes and loud bangs possibly from ‘flash bang’ grenades.