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Oakland turns violent



The reports from Oakland yesterday and last night were not promising. The New York Times said that:

A roving group of about 100 mostly young men broke from the main group of protesters in a central plaza and roamed through downtown streets spraying graffiti, burning garbage and breaking windows. The police said some in the group briefly occupied a building on 16th Street near the port.

After warning the group to clear the building, which according to local media reports was vacant, officers in riot gear fired tear gas and bean bag rounds shortly after midnight local time. Dozens of protesters “wielding shields” were arrested, the police said; the building was cleared by around 2 a.m.

The spasm of violence early Thursday morning came after thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters had expanded their anti-Wall Street demonstrations on Wednesday, marching through downtown, picketing banks and swarming the port. By early evening, port authorities said maritime operations there were effectively shut down.

“Maritime area operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so,” port officials said in a statement, asking marchers to “allow your fellow 99% to get home safe to their families.”

The people who cheered the vandalizing of the bank earlier in the day numbered far more than 100.