OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Protesters battled with riot police in Oakland Wednesday night and Thursday morning as vandals left behind destruction at downtown businesses following Occupy Oakland protests. More than 80 people were arrested in scattered clashes.
City officials said police responded to a group of protesters who had broken into and occupied a downtown building and set several fires late Wednesday night.
The Occupy Oakland Twitter feed identified the building as the empty Traveler’s Aid Society building located at 520 16th Street.
Officials said protesters, many holding shields, began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles and flaming objects at officers.
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan described the group as “anarchists and provocateurs.”
Speaking to reporters at the city’s emergency operations center,Jordan said he formulated a plan to roust the protesters from the building because he was concerned that they would set the building on fire and cause structural damage.
Meanwhile, operations resumed at the Port of Oakland Thursday, a day after protesters participated in the general strike organized by the Occupy Oakland movement.
“Port employees have been directed to show up at work as normal, pursuant to regular work schedules,” port officials said in a statement.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
There appear to have been no injuries or property damage in the port area during Wednesday night’s blockade, according to port officials, although they said there was a “limited incursion into a private rail facility, and trespassers were escorted off peacefully.”
Port officials had called on protesters to allow workers to get back to their jobs Thursday.
“Any additional missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers, and their families, as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region,” port officials said.
A small group of protesters blocked truck traffic a day after a crowd of thousands shut down the major shipping hub.
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Speaking to reporters at the city’s emergency operations center, Jordan said he formulated a plan to roust the protesters from the downtown building because he was concerned that they would set the building on fire and cause structural damage.
Just before midnight the Police Department issued its first order to the crowd to clear the area. Police said they continued to be attacked with rocks, lit flares, roman candles and bottles.
After Tear gas and bean bag rounds were fired into the crowd around 12:10 a.m.
Protesters had cleared the occupied building by 2:10 a.m., officials said.
Three Oakland police officers received minor injuries, including an officer who was bitten by one of the protesters, he said.
Five protesters also were injured, according to Jordan. He said there is a report that one of the injured protesters might have lost consciousness but that has not been confirmed.
Officials said the operation was kept separate from a group of peaceful protesters who remained at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Police lines surrounded the plaza during the night, but activity never reached the Occupy Oakland encampment.
Two pedestrians were injured Wednesday evening when they were hit by a car at 11th and Broadway. Rumors circulated on Twitter that the victims had died, but officials at Highland Hospital have confirmed that they suffered from non-life threatening injuries. KCBS’s Chris Filippi reports that officers took the driver’s information, but allowed him to leave the scene.
Officials reported there was also a lot of vandalism on private and city buildings. The city’s Public Works Agency was scheduled to board up the 16th Street building and other damaged buildings in the Civic Center area.
The Tully’s coffee shop at Frank Ogawa Plaza had broken windows and along Broadway graffiti had been sprayed on most buildings by 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Many other areas had been vandalized overnight.
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