Violent Clashes End Day of Relatively Peaceful May Day Protest in Oakland

By: Brian Shields - Wed, 02 May 2012 10:49:32 -0800

OAKLAND (KRON) -- Cleanup is underway in Oakland Wednesday hours after police clashed with protestors during a day of May Day demonstrations. 
KRON 4's Yoli Aceves was in downtown Oakland Wednesday morning as businesses scrambled to make repairs and clean up before the start of the work day. One bank sustained heavy damage after vandals smashed windows after a day of relatively peaceful protests turned violent Tuesday.
Oakland police officers were out monitoring the streets around city hall Tuesday night following a violent confrontation with May Day protesters who threw bottles and other projectiles at them.
KRON 4's J.R. Stone was in the middle of the intersection as darkness fell when hours of mostly peaceful protest turned nasty.  About a thousand of the estimated three to five thousand demonstrators remained around Frank Ogawa Plaza when the violence began.  KRON 4 cameras recorded the sound of breaking glass as some demonstrators tossed glass bottles, full cans of beer, and other projectiles at a line of riot police surrounding them.
Officers in riot gear forced demonstrators down Broadway and away from the plaza, firing tear gas and making more than 20 arrests.  
By late evening, the streets were mostly clear except for vans filled with officers preparing to respond to more provocations.
The violence followed several hours of demonstrations by labor groups and Occupy Oakland members who have a variety of grievances against alleged corruption in government and the financial industry, among other issues.
Police made arrests and deployed tear gas earlier in the day after other alleged instances of vandalism and destruction of property.  The owner of a small restaurant in downtown Oakland faced off against protestors angry that he refused to let employees off for the day to take part in a general strike.  
These protests were the first to happen since Oakland police announced new policies for dealing with demonstrations.  Authorities continue to assess how well those changes in procedures worked.
Stay tuned to KRON 4 and for comprehensive coverage of the May Day protests.
(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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