300 held in latest US Occupy protests

 

About 300 people were arrested during a chaotic day of Occupy protests in the US city of Oakland that saw demonstrators break into City Hall and burn an American flag, and police fire tear gas and use flash grenades to disperse the crowds.

It was the most turbulent day of protests since November, when Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment.

An exasperated mayor Jean Quan, who faced heavy criticism for the police action last autumn, called on the Occupy movement to "stop using Oakland as its playground".

Authorities say protesters clashed with police throughout yesterday, at times throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at officers. The protests grew as the day wore on with an estimated 2,000 demonstrators in the streets at one point.

The national Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces corporate excess and economic inequality, began in New York City in autumn but has been largely dormant lately.

Oakland, New York and Los Angeles were among the cities with the largest and most vocal Occupy protests early on. The demonstrations ebbed after city officials used force to move out hundreds of demonstrators who had set up tent cities.

In Oakland, the police department received heavy criticism for using force to break up earlier protests. Among the critics was Ms Quan, who said she was not briefed on the department's plans.

Earlier this month, a court-appointed monitor submitted a report to a federal judge that included "serious concerns" about the department's handling of the Occupy protests.

Most of the arrests in Oakland yesterday came at around 8pm local time when police took scores of protesters into custody as they marched through the city centre, with some entering a YMCA building, police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.

Many other demonstrators were arrested earlier in the afternoon, after police said they threw rocks, bottles and other objects at officers and tore down fencing.

At about the same time that police were taking people into custody near the YMCA, about 100 police officers surrounded City Hall, while others swept the inside of the building looking for protesters who had broken in

Ms Quan said that at one point, many forced their way into City Hall, where they burned flags, broke into an electrical box and damaged several art structures, including a recycled art exhibit created by children.

City Administrator Deanna Santana said protesters pelted officers with bottles, metal pipes, rocks and burning flares and police responded by deploying smoke, tear gas and bean bag rounds.

Police said the group assembled at a city centre plaza yesterday morning, with demonstrators threatening to take over the vacant Henry Kaiser Convention Centre. The group then marched through the streets, disrupting traffic.

The crowd grew as the day wore on, with afternoon estimates ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 people.

The protesters walked to the vacant convention centre, where some started tearing down perimeter fencing and "destroying construction equipment" shortly before 3pm, police said.

Most of the arrests were made when protesters ignored orders to leave and assaulted officers, police said. By 4pm, the bulk of the crowd had left the convention centre and headed back to the city centre.

The demonstration comes after Occupy protesters said earlier this week that they planned to move into a vacant building and turn it into a social centre and political hub. They also threatened to try to shut down the port, occupy the airport and take over City Hall.

In a statement on Friday, Ms Santana said the city would not be "bullied by threats of violence or illegal activity".

Interim police chief Howard Jordan also warned that officers would arrest those carrying out illegal actions.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower