Occupy Oakland Protest Taken Down By Police, Tear Gas
Police in Oakland, California, dispersed Occupy protesters there with tear gas, bean bags and flash bombs last night.
At least 100 people have been arrested in a massive crackdown on Occupy Oakland protesters. Police began rounding up the activists yesterday morning, after the crowd allegedly began throwing bottles, rocks and other objects at cops.
“We were in a position where we had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks,” said interim Police Chief Howard Jordan when justifying firing tear gas five times. He also admitted that bean bags and sound cannons were shot at the group.
Though many of the estimated 1,000 activists left as soon as cops brandished batons and began firing tear gas, others refused, intent on exercising their right to protest. A few hundred remain in place, defiant against police in riot gear, according to CBS News.
One protester, Mario Fernandez, remarked, “This movement is more than just the people versus the police. It’s about the people trying to have their rights to basic services.”
Oakland police aren’t alone in using heavy-handed tactics to disperse the growing Occupy movements: Atlanta cops arrested 53 people early this morning at a camp in Woodruff Park, and that city’s mayor, Kasim Reed, said he may revoke the protesters’ permit, and police elsewhere in the nation are reportedly planning on doing the same.
Meanwhile, in Maine, an unidentified person tossed a “chemical bomb” into a crowd of protesters there.
While authorities believe their actions will help hamper the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, they’ll only serve to reinvigorate activists. In fact, the Occupy Oakland face-off may become a turning point that takes the entire Occupy movement to the next level, showing the public at large how state-backed powers are using force to suppress people’s rights.
Here’s some video of the Occupy Oakland protesters being pushed back: