Videos from the Occupy Oakland protest show demonstrators fleeing from police as law enforcement officers launch tear gas canisters into their midst on Tuesday night. Tensions between the demonstrators and police came to a head after police attempted to clear away around 1,000 protesters, leading many to resist on grounds of freedom to assemble and freedom of speech.
Police disperse Occupy Oakland protesters with tear gas. (From YouTube)
"We had to deploy gas to stop people from throwing rocks and bottles at police," Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said during a press conference.
In Oakland, protesters have been occupying the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza for about two weeks, renaming it the Oscar Grant Plaza after an unarmed man who was shot dead by BART police on New Year's Eve 2009. About 300 protesters had set up camp, forming a small community encampment city officials say was plagued by vandalism, sexual harassment and assault, and illegal drug use.
On Wednesday morning Oakland city workers arrived to continue cleaning up the site of the protests, power washing the sidewalk and clearing away mounds of trash and tents left by protesters.
Occupy Oakland is a localized branch of the same national movement against what many perceive to be a corrupt banking system, spear-headed by the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Over the course of a couple of weeks the Occupy Oakland demonstration came to include many different causes including inmates' rights, housing rights and fair wages.