Hundreds of protesters who took to the streets to protest Tuesday's pre-dawn raid of the downtown Occupy Oakland encampment were met with tear gas and flash bangs from police.
The protest began at a 4 p.m. at the Main Library near Lake Merritt. Protesters marched in the street down 12th Street to Broadway. Protesters then made their way to 9th Street and turned into Old Oakland. At the intersection of 9th and Washington, police attempted to stop protesters from proceeding towards the police station or the jail where occupiers who arrested during the morning's raid were held.
A conflict soon ensued where police jabbed batons at protesters who were yelling obscenities at police. Using a banner to push police back, a few officers charged the group grabbing two protesters. While attempting to handcuff the two men with zipties, police who surrounded the arresting officers were hit with bottles or vinegar and yellow, red and aquamarine paintballs. The conflict soon escalated as police threw flashbangs into the crowd. Protesters regrouped and marched up Broadway back towards 14th Street in an attempt to retake the plaza.
Protesters began removing barricades across from Frank Ogawa Plaza, renamed "Oscar Grant Plaza" by protesters. An Oakland Police Sargeant gave an order to disperse for an "unlawful assembly" warning protesters to leave or face arrest. Meanwhile, police put on gas masks. Dozens sat down at the intersection seemingly prepared to take an arrest, but were convinced by others to march on.
The group proceeded north on Broadway and merged onto Telegraph. The group continued up Telegraph and turning back towards Broadway passing Youth Radio. The group heading up Franklin Street to the intersection of Thomas L. Berkeley Way where the crowd rallied at an intersection surrounded by banks: California Savings and Trust, Chase, Union Bank and Wells Fargo. Protesters continued East on Berkeley Way to Snow Park, a second Occupy Oakland site that was an extension of Oscar Grant Plaza that was also raided.
The group headed back to Broadway and marched towards the plaza. There, protesters were met with another order to disperse. This time, police fired tear gas into the crowd causing protesters to flee east on 14th Street. A woman in a wheelchair was unable to leave from near the barricade until a group of men went back to help push her chair. All coughed and gagged as they attempted to cover their faces with rags and their sleeves.
Protesters walked to Alice Street, back towards Snow Park, turning west on 19th Street. The group headed past the Fox Theater, the Uptown Park, to San Pablo. Marching back towards Oscar Grant Plaza the group debated which direction to go; east on 17th, continue down San Pablo to the Plaza (and police) or down Clay Street.
At this point, Mandingo Hayes–a man accused of being a police informant during the Oscar Grant movement–emerged, attempting to lead protesters down San Pablo towards police saying, "I don't care if its police there." The crowd went down 17th Street.
The group turned back onto Telegraph and headed back towards the plaza. There, a conflict ensued between a small group of protesters throwing items at police. Police responded with a flash bang and one officer unloading a small paintball-looking weapon. Protesters gathered at the intersection chanting "Let's Go Oakland!"
Another dispersal order was given repeatedly. Eventually, a group of protesters headed east on 14th Street to Franklin. A small fire was started near Golden Lotus restaurant, which had since closed, but was extinguished by a small group of protesters. Another round of tear gas was shot towards protesters, including one round that was shot all the way to the middle of the intersection of 14th and Franklin that nearly hit a woman. Protesters continued in the streets with some heading up Harrison and others north on Webster Street. The smell of tear gas could be smelled as far as Disco Volante, which allowed some teary-eyed, coughing protesters to come inside and use its restroom (and hear some jazz).
Oakland Police plan to have a press conference this morning but have not yet announced the time.
Protesters vowed to reconvene every day at 14th and Broadway at 6 p.m. until they have retaken Oscar Grant Plaza.