Police in Oakland, California last night repeatedly clashed with demonstrators who refused to simply go home, even after every one of their repeated assemblies were declared illegal.
As police dispersed crowds with tear gas and less-lethal weaponry, protesters fled from their positions and re-formed in other locations, leading to what The Associated Press called a “game of cat-and-mouse” between the groups. Every time protesters would assemble again, police rushed to the location and attempted to disperse them.
Amid the tear gas and pepper spray, clearly angered protesters chanted: “Who are you protecting?” Reports from protesters on Twitter claimed the crowd broke into an acapella version of “The Imperial March” from Star Wars as police closed in on them.
Scenes from the skirmishes are terrifying, showing a barely contained bedlam and numerous brutal arrests. Police claimed that protesters threw rocks and bottles at them, and set trash cans on fire. Protesters claimed that police responded with rubber bullets and flashbang grenades — and while police denied this, video from the scene seems to disprove their denial.
The marches in Oakland coincided with a fundraising event for President Barack Obama, who was in San Francisco, and followed an early morning police raid on Tuesday meant to evict protesters from their two-week-old encampment at Oscar Grant Park.
Police said that 97 people were arrested in that early morning raid, while hundreds more decided to leave the park and regroup later. More than 100 were arrested Tuesday night.
This video is from The Associated Press, published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011.
Photo: Flickr user dignidadrebelde.
This video was published to YouTube on Oct. 26, 2011.