Chaos reigns on the streets of Oakland tonight as rioting has broken out when Occupy protesters tried to reclaim their camp from the police.
The action is still happening as I write this, so expect this post to be updated and changed as the night wears on.
Injured protester being carried away from the scene of the clashes. [Photo found on Tumblr.]
What we know so far: After the Occupy Oakland encampment was torn down early Tuesday morning by police, the ousted protesters reconvened outside the Oakland Library on Tuesday afternoon and voted to attempt a re-occupation of the same plaza from which they had just been evicted. Summoned by waves of emergency tweets and emails, fresh recruits joined the evicted Occupiers and early this evening once again marched on downtown Oakland, intending to reclaim Frank Ogawa Plaza.
But the Oakland Police were of course monitoring all this, and along with many other local police departments they were waiting for the protesters’ invasion. After an hours-long standoff at 14th and Broadway, interrupted by several confrontations and arrests, everything started to turn violent some time after 9:30pm.
I’ll post videos and any updates here as they become available. Please feel free to post any links in the comments section.
As videos crop up on YouTube in real time, I’ll try to embed them here:
VIDEOS OF THE OCCUPY OAKLAND RIOTING, Tuesday, October 25
Protesters scream and scatter as police fire tear gas:
Chaos as police fire flash-bang grenades and tear gas at unruly Occupiers at 14th & Broadway:
“Police Use Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, Flash Bangs on Occupy Oakland Protesters”:
“What the fuck?! What the fuck?!”:
More photos found on Tumblr:
Police warn protesters to disperse from “unlawful assembly,” give four-minute warning before use of tear gas:
(Needless to say, the protesters ignored and mocked the warning.)
Tense moments at the barricades:
Masked protesters chant “Whose streets? Our streets!” at police:
“We got tear-gassed again!”:
And now for some comic relief — a statement released just moments ago from an outraged Occupy sympathizer:
“This is a video message to the Oakland Police Department. You have committed violations of state and federal law. If you continue with your activity, I will personally come to Oakland and arrest every single officer involved. You have committed not only civil rights violations but also criminal acts against the people of the United States. Further continuance of said acts will be a declaration of war. You have 24 hours to respond.”
Protesters fleeing from tear gas canisters:
Guy hit with bean-bag round: “It’s fascism, man. They’re just fuckin’ dogs.”
From earlier in the day, shortly before nightfall:
This video shows the reason why Oakland Police called for backup from surrounding jurisdictions: A mob of several hundred protesters surrounded a handful of Oakland cops and pelted them with paint bombs, bottles and other projectiles, which you can see clearly starting at :33 in the video:
And here’s a rioter’s-eye view on street level of cops pelted with blue paint bombs, along with menacing group taunts from the protesters:
Imagine being a cop caught in this situation, surrounded on all sides by extremely hostile protesters looking to instigate conflict:
The Occupiers are making a huge deal out of this single moment during the chaos, when one of the protesters lay on the ground in front of the police barricades, and when several more protesters rushed over to him and the barricades, the police scattered them again with more tear gas:
Judge for yourself if this is a “crime against humanity” as is being claimed.
Verum Serum has a good roundup of videos showing Oakland clashes earlier in the afternoon, before the night-time chaos erupted.
The New York Times now has now blogged about the Oakland riot as well, and has some videos of their own:
At around 9:30 p.m., there was a tense face-off between protesters and police officers on Broadway at 14th Street. About 100 officers, some appearing to be county sheriffs, stood behind a metal barricade in full riot gear and wearing gas masks, while on the other side people pressed against the barricade, waving peace signs and chanting slogans. A few protesters hurled objects — what looked like water bottles — at the police, while over a loud speaker, officers instructed people to disperse or risk “chemical agents.”
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. the announcements stopped. Moments after, the police began sending canisters of tear gas into the crowd. Many people ran, but a few protesters wearing gas masks stayed and continued to throw things at the police.
This same strategy, of instigators throwing projectiles to goad police into a forceful response, as a way to spark a riot, has been standard practice among radicals for decades.
On Wednesday morning, SFGate published a round-up article summarizing the night’s events.