Tension Builds Between Occupy Demonstrators and Police

By: Ja'Mein Beale - Tue, 01 May 2012 15:01:29 -0800

OAKLAND (BCN)--The interaction between police and Occupy Oakland protesters has grown tense in downtown Oakland Tuesday, where demonstrators have gathered for an afternoon rally.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m., dozens of officers in riot gear were at  the intersection of 14th and Broadway, and several loud bangs were heard. 
It was not immediately clear whether the bangs were caused by the  firing of tear gas canisters, or other activity. Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson had arrived at the scene but said  she did not yet know whether any arrests had been made. 
She said police want to allow protesters to demonstrate  peacefully, but that there is a contingent within the crowd that seems to be  seeking confrontation with officers.
"We want to remove them so everyone else can protest peacefully,"  she said. 
Several hundred protesters marched through downtown Tuesday morning  in preparation for the noon rally, which is one of many May Day  demonstrations planned throughout the Bay Area Tuesday. 
Shortly before 11:30 a.m., about 30 protesters were dancing to  music in the middle of the street at 14th Street and Broadway.
Police have blocked off streets, and traffic is being rerouted. AC  Transit buses are being detoured around the area. 
Oakland police have been preparing for Tuesday's protests, and said some planned marches and rallies have permits but others do not.
"We will not tolerate destruction or violence," city officials  said in a news release this morning. 
Many of the protests in Oakland, including a march that starts at  3 p.m. at the Fruitvale BART station, are expected to converge at Frank Ogawa  Plaza around 6 p.m. 
City offices remain open for business Tuesday. 
(Copyright 2012, Bay City News. All Rights Reserved.)  
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