An Occupy protester flashes the peace sign to Oakland police officers early Thursday morning.
The day started with a general strike in Oakland, Calif., and by sundown the Occupy movement had scored a symbolic and practical victory in peacefully closing down the busy Port of Oakland. But around midnight and early into Thursday morning, protesters and riot police were clashing at the main encampment by City Hall. What changed?
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that several dozen protesters were arrested and three were hospitalized, and some minor injuries were sustained by police officers. Here’s more on the overnight developments, and below the excerpt is video footage from #OakFoSho, the camera-phone-enabled protester mentioned in the L.A. Times’ coverage. Check out his Twitter feed here and his UStream channel here.
Los Angeles Times:
Demonstrators managed to gain entry to an empty building that had housed the Traveler’s Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that assists the homeless but had suffered funding cuts. Leaflets indicated that protesters had targeted the building for “reuse.” They branded it a new “community center” in Twitter feeds. Video from a local ABC affiliate’s helicopter showed jubilant crowds flowing in and out of the building, where a banner marked “Occupy Everything” hung. Others built a barricade nearby, presumably to discourage police.
Shortly before midnight, local media reported that police officers from various agencies were suiting up in riot gear. Some demonstrators set the barricade aflame. Firefighters doused it. A police statement later said protesters had hurled rocks, explosives, bottles and flaming objects at officers.
A live video from a man who called himself #OakFoSho on Twitter, beamed to thousands of viewers into the early hours Thursday, showed Alameda County sheriff’s deputies and Concord police officers among those authorities who surrounded the crowd on Broadway near Telegraph Avenue. Despite several volleys of tear gas, demonstrators boisterously played guitars and violins and sang classic songs such as Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”