About 300 ‘Occupy’ protesters were arrested on Saturday because they acted violently in the streets, says USA Today. Police officers in Oakland had to fire tear gas and bean bags in order to prevent demonstrators from throwing rocks and bottles near the City Hall.
The city of Oakland, California was subject to a series of violent acts on Saturday when demonstrators broke into the City Hall and burnt an American flag. This was one of the most turbulent days of protests since November 2011. Back then, police officers were forced to dismantle an Occupy encampment and Mayor Jean Quan was criticized for his behavior. He replied, in turn, that demonstrators should not transform Oakland in their playground.
According to the declaration of the City Administrator Deanna Santana, there have been various clashes between police officers and protesters throughout Saturday. In the end, authorities had to arrest some of the demonstrators because they threw bottles and rocks at police officers and tore down fences. Santana added that the group clearly stated its intentions of engaging in illegal activities; therefore, authorities had every right to intervene.
The group of protesters gathered outside the City Hall from where they marched up to Henry Kaiser Convention Center. Once they arrived at the convention center, demonstrators started tearing down perimeter fencing and destroying the surrounding constructions around 3 p.m. When police officers tried to calm them down, the crowd pelted them with various objects including burning flares.
The crowd of protesters grew bigger towards the evening. Authorities estimate that there were about 1,000 to 2,000 people demonstrating on the streets on Saturday afternoon. The majority of the arrests took place when protesters marching through the city’s downtown entered a YMCA building.
Occupy Oakland protesters wrote an email to criticize the police’s behavior during the Saturday march. They claim that their constitutional right was infringed by the brutal response of the authorities. According to Michael Davis, a 32-year-old demonstrator from Ohio, the day started off in a peaceful manner, but everything changed when police officers attacked several protesters. In his opinion, the Oakland police department is responsible for the said acts of violence.