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Occupy Oakland Protest Turns Violent; Hundreds Arrested

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Oakland Police

Oakland police at an Occupy protest. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Police arrested around 200 Occupy Oakland protesters during a day of action Saturday that began with the protesters’ attempt to take over a vacant building to establish a community center there.

Police estimated that around 450 to 500 protesters marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza starting at around 1 p.m. and attempted to take over the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center near Lake Merritt.

Occupy organizers said they planned to reappropriate the vacant building as a new home for Occupy Oakland. Once they reached their destination, organizers had planned to kick off a two-day “Oakland Rise-up Festival” to celebrate the establishment of the movement’s new space.

PHOTOS: More Occupy Oakland Protests

Police said protesters began tearing down perimeter fences at the center around 2:30 p.m., and were ordered to disperse at 2:50 p.m.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Officers were allegedly pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares, according to police. Police said they used smoke bombs and tear gas, and protesters at the scene reported officers using batons on individuals in the crowd. As of around 5 p.m., 19 people had been arrested and three police officers had been injured. One of those officers suffered a laceration to the face and two received injuries to their hands.

By around 4 p.m., the bulk of the group had retreated to the plaza and regrouped. A second march set out from Frank Ogawa Plaza around 5:30 p.m.

Most of the day’s arrests were made outside of the YMCA at 2350 Broadway in Oakland after protesters allegedly attempted to force entry into the building, police said.

Police surrounded the protesters and stated that they had failed to comply with multiple orders to disperse, and therefore were under arrest. A protester broadcasting live video of the event said protesters were trying to escape through the YMCA after being surrounded by police. A police spokesman said there was property damage to the YMCA but did not have details.

A reporter for the San Francisco-based Mother Jones magazine, Gavin Aronsen, was among those arrested, according to the magazine. Aronsen said on his Twitter feed that he was released early Sunday morning.

Police also reported that protesters broke into Oakland City Hall and vandalized exhibits.

Protesters announced that they will continue the demonstration at 8 a.m. today, and plan to meet in Frank Ogawa Plaza to continue the activities already planned, including conferences and teach-ins.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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