Police Arrest More Than 300 Occupy Oakland Protesters As Tensions Flare

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Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle / AP

Oakland police block a street to stop protesters with Occupy Oakland as they march through the streets in downtown Oakland, Calif., Saturday Jan. 28, 2012.


Outside the Oakland YMCA, police continue to process arrested protesters Saturday night. More than 100 were taken in after they allegedly tried to occupy the building. It capped off a day that saw Occupy Oakland activists clashing with police as objects flew in both directions. Spurred by protesters who allegedly threw flares and bottles at police, Oakland officers responded with tear gas and “flash” grenades to break up the protests. The activists began gathering around noon Saturday, according to CNN, drawing a crowd a few hundred strong at Frank Ogawa Plaza, which had been the protesters’ base until police cleared them out in November. By midafternoon, more than 1,000 protesters were gathered around the square.

The Occupy Oakland activists began marching toward the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center with the intent to make it their new meeting place, NBCBayArea reports. Clashes between police and protesters began around 2:30 p.m. when protesters started tearing down fences around the convention center. Oakland Police said that three of their officers were hurt in the clashes.

[tweet https://twitter.com/oaklandpoliceca/status/163394471579500544%5D

Police arrested 19 people when protesters started “destroying construction equipment and fencing” and throwing bottles, pipes, flares and other materials at officers. The protesters were warned with a dispersal order, with many leaving the area by 4 p.m., but others who remained encountered police force.

After the attempt to take over the convention center failed, another group marched through downtown Oakland to the YMCA, where hundreds were allegedly corralled by police and threatened with arrest. The number of protesters cuffed over the span of the day was about 300. A majority of the arrests, nearly 200, were made around 8 p.m. as protesters attempted to occupy the YMCA, police spokesman Jeff Thomason told the Associated Press.

[tweet https://twitter.com/VivianHo/status/163449545605394432%5D

Police were also called to Oakland City Hall to maintain that building’s security after reports that protesters attempted to break in. As of Saturday evening, more than 100 officers were standing guard, after Occupy Oakland demonstrators allegedly forced their way into the building and ran out with American flags, Mayor Jean Quan said.

UPDATE: The livestream should have been attributed to Spencer Mills, who filmed from an apartment building across from the Oakland YMCA. Thanks to commenters for pointing this out.