Occupy Oakland a riot
Occupy Oakland a riot
OAKLAND, CALIF. (BDCI)- The Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth busiest shipping port, was shut down for evening operations on November 2, after a 5-hour protest by the Occupy Oakland protestors.
The protestors were supporters of the organized “Occupy Wall Street” movement which is challenging the world’s economic system and demanding a re-distribution of wealth. The movement which has been going on for months, has captured the world’s attention as they set up tent camps from New York’s Wall Street to Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
A crowd of about 7,000 disrupted port operations by overwhelming the area with people and blocking exits with chain-link fencing and illegally parked vehicles. The demonstrators also erected fences to block main streets to the port. No trucks were allowed into or out of the area.
After the victorious shut down of the Oakland port, a voice over a bullhorn said “The night is not over, yet,” protest organizers told demonstrators to head back to downtown plaza where the Oakland movement has been based for more than a month.
The Occupy encampment was set up across from City Hall, which also was the scene of intense clashes with authorities just last week. Among the injured in the violent downtown Oakland clash of Oct. 25 was two-tour Iraq war veteran, Scott Olsen, who sustained a skull fracture.
After ending a peaceful day of protest throughout Oakland on Wednesday, police and protestors confronted each other again after a large bonfire was set up in the middle of the street. Protestors were moved away by dozens of riot police when flames started to leap more than 15 feet in the air from several large metal and plastic trash bins that had been pushed together.
Police warned protestors to clear out before firing several rounds of tear gas and “flash bang” grenades to clear the area.
Riot Police arrested more than 80 protestors in downtown Oakland, after demonstrators began to throw chunks of concrete and metal pipes as well as light roman candles and firebombs. Five protestors and several officers were injured.
The Wednesday strike was called on by the Occupy Wall Street organizers, and supporters in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Oakland responded with different demonstrations.
One of the outspoken protestors, Boots Riley, whose anti-capitalist views are well documented, considered the port shutdown particularly significant for organizers who target it in an effort to stop the “flow of capital”. However, Riley does not agree with the chaos that erupted in Oakland on Wednesday night.
“If they do that after all this…” he said, pausing cautiously, “They’re smarter than that.”
The violence that followed raised questions about the direction of the movement and whether the clashes, so far mostly isolated in a city with a history of tensions between residents and police, will encourage protestors or hurt their cause.
“I think it will allow detractors to criticize the movement,” said protester Hel Nicholson, who has been staying at the Occupy Oakland encampment since the beginning. He followed that he and most people there were pacifists.
By: Jandra Bell
Source: The Examiner, Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of: Los Angeles Times
4 November 2011