Oakland protest: Tear gas, one arrest

Pub date May 1, 2012
WriterShawn Gaynor
SectionPolitics Blog

Tuesday morning brought an eruption of protests though out downtown Oakland as Occupy activists marched and rallied in support of a national general strike day to mark May Day.

Though the action lacked the numbers of last fall’s Port of Oakland strike, three early morning marches of several hundred protesters made there way through Oakland drawing attention to issues of gentrification, patriarchy and what protesters characterized as the injustices of capitalism.

In a city still waiting for an economic recovery, the protests were a reminder that simmering tensions over economic disparities continue to cause major disruptions of business as usual in Oakland.

Activists focused attention on Child Protective Services and the family court system. The agency was criticizing the for dividing families and sharpening the financial strain on poor families.

“This is where lawyers get rich, where judges get rich, and everyone else suffers,” stated an Occupy Oakland activist on the steps of the courthouse on 13th and Oak.

By noon various marches and protests converged on Oscar Grant Plaza, as roughly 1,000 protesters blocking traffic at 14th and Broadway. Protester danced to a portable sound system carted around in wheel chair, and danced around a maypole erected in the intersection.

OPD’s new crowd-control tactics were in display as riot police entered the crowd to make an arrest as bystanders were moved away with tear gas, concussion grenades and batons.

One woman was arrested and a 19-year-old Oakland woman, was struck in the head with a police baton. Bleeding heavily from the blow, she was rushed to the hospital after Occupy medics determined her wound was beyond their capacity to treat.

It was unclear what provoked the arrest.

Further protests are planned for this afternoon.

UPDATE: Sergeant Jeff Thomason, OPD public affairs, told us there have been four arrests, related to an incident in which paint was allegedly thrown at a police officer. Oakland has summoned mutual aid from the California Highway Patrol, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Pleasanton and Hayward PDs.