On Saturday, members of the Occupy movement in Oakland staged a daylong protest. But this was no peaceful rally; instead, it was an effort to infiltrate a vacant building to repurpose as a headquarters for Occupy Oakland.
When police deterred the Occupiers from taking over a convention center, the protesters then marched to the Oakland Museum of California, and arrests started to take place. Later that night, the movement marched downtown and broke into City Hall, prompting hundreds more arrests. Throughout the entirety of the ordeal, some demonstrators were throwing bottles, rocks, flares and even a bicycle at the police.
Occupy Oakland’s media committee blamed the officers for not allowing enough time to disperse before making arrests, and they might still be stinging from law enforcement’s initial reaction to the movement in October, which employed tear gas and projectiles on peaceful protesters. However, officials in Oakland are up in arms, as the entire ordeal drew police and resources away from other pressing matters in the city, such as five homicides which occurred during the span of the weekend.
With over 400 arrests and an untold amount of money which will be spent processing arrests and cleaning up the city, has Occupy Oakland stepped over the line? Is this indicative of the entire movement, or is it simply an isolated incident reacting to the pressures of a specific environment? Were the protesters simply pushed too hard initially by law enforcement? Did police have any other option? Later today, U.S. Park Police will be kicking out Occupy D.C. protesters in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza. Will that result in violence, destruction and numerous arrests as well? Or will protesters go peacefully?
Gavin Aronsen, Reporter, Mother Jones magazine; Aronsen was covering the Oakland protest; he was one of several reporters arrested.
Omar Yassin, member of Occupy Oakland, attended Saturday’s protest.
Jane Brunner, Oakland City Council Member