Police use flashbang grenades and tear-gas against Occupy Oakland
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 "very radical, violent" splinter group within Occupy Oakland, based on previous experience are likely to be agent provocateurs.
Oakland cops use tear gas on Occupy mob, arrest 300
29 January, 2012
Dozens of police maintained a late-night guard around City Hall following daylong protests that resulted in 300 arrests. Occupy Oakland demonstrators broke into the historic building and burned a U.S. flag, as officers earlier fired tear gas to disperse people throwing rocks and tearing down fencing at a convention center.
Saturday's protests — the most turbulent since Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment in November — came just days after the group said it planned to use a vacant building as a social center and political hub and threatened to try to shut down the port, occupy the airport and take over City Hall.
An exasperated Mayor Jean Quan, who faced heavy criticism for the police action last fall, called on the Occupy movement to "stop using Oakland as its playground."
"People in the community and people in the Occupy movement have to stop making excuses for this behavior," Quan said.
Protesters clashed with police throughout the day, at times throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at officers. And police responded by deploying smoke, tear gas and bean bag rounds, City Administrator Deanna Santanta said.
Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said about 300 arrests were made.
"These demonstrators stated their intention was to provoke officers and engage in illegal activity and that's exactly what has occurred today," Santana said.
The group assembled outside City Hall late Saturday morning and marched through the streets, disrupting traffic as they threatened to take over the vacant Henry Kaiser Convention Center.
The protesters walked to the vacant convention center, where some started tearing down perimeter fencing and "destroying construction equipment" shortly before 3 p.m., police said.
Police said they issued a dispersal order and used smoke and tear gas after some protesters pelted them with bottles, rocks, burning flares and other objects.
The number of demonstrators swelled as the day wore on, with afternoon estimates ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 people.
A majority of the arrests came after police took scores of protesters into custody as they marched through the city's downtown, with some entering a YMCA building, said Sgt. Jeff Thomason, a police spokesman.
Quan said that at one point, many protesters forced their way into City Hall, where they burned flags, broke an electrical box and damaged several art structures, including a recycled art exhibit created by children.
She blamed the destruction on a small "very radical, violent" splinter group within Occupy Oakland.