'Occupy Oakland' protesters march for second night

Protesters stage a sit in at Frank Ogawa Plaza, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Oakland, Calif. Police and Anti-Wall Street protesters have clashed in Oakland in the past two days in the plaza in front of the city hall where protesters have been camped for the past two weeks. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
October 27, 2011 1:13:59 AM PDT
Hundreds of "Occupy Oakland" protesters marched through Downtown Oakland late Wednesday night and dispersed by 1 a.m. and some protesters returned to Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The march had been mostly peaceful Wednesday evening through the streets of downtown, with riot police monitoring the crowds.

Downtown BART stations -- 19th and 12th Street stations -- are both open until service ends around 1 a.m., a BART official said.

At least one protester was detained at the 12th Street BART station Wednesday evening after a brief skirmish between police and protesters near the station entrance.

During Wednesday's marches, protesters called for a citywide strike on Nov. 2, where workers and students would leave their positions to join a march in downtown Oakland.

Protesters also announced that the first planning meeting for the strike would be held today at 5 p.m., prior to a general assembly at 6 p.m.

Throughout the day Wednesday a small group of protesters remained near Oakland City Hall, but the crowd grew larger in the evening. Around 7:30 p.m., protesters began to remove the fences that had been erected around the lawn at Frank Ogawa Plaza after protesters had been removed early Tuesday morning.

Tuesday protest turns violent

Early Tuesday, police forcibly booted protesters out of their tent city in Frank Ogawa Plaza. That move led to violent confrontations around Oakland's civic center, involving tear gas and bottle throwing. At least one protester is in the hospital with serious injuries.

Police fired numerous rounds of tear gas into crowds that had assembled at 14th and Broadway Tuesday night. At least one man was struck in the head by a canister, a flash grenade, or other projectile fired by police.

Those who were among the protestors say the police response was excessive and they showed ABC7 what they describe as bean bags and rubber bullets that were fired on the crowd.

"I don't think this is humane; these people are out here trying to protest peacefully," demonstrator Ali Adem said.

"Yes, there were glass bottles, yes there were rocks thrown at one point, but there was one point where literally it was a plastic bottle, I watched it go, a plastic bottle, and they gassed the crowd," demonstrator Mike Porter said.

Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan say any use of force has only been in response to their officers being assaulted first by protesters.

"We were being pelted by rocks and bottles," Jordan said.

Jordan denies that his agency used rubber bullets but says that it was possible that other agencies that had come in to assist did use them.

Tasha Casini showed ABC7 the bruise she says she received after being struck by a police projectile during one of the skirmishes at 14th and Broadway.

"You know, I don't know the difference between a bean bag gun and a rubber bullet gun, but I can tell you this feels like a rubber bullet and not a bean bag," Casini said.

City Councilwoman Jane Brunner wants a full briefing on all use of force by police.

"The world is watching and I think we have to look at each incident, we have to hear the chief of police explain their side, we can see from how the demonstrators explain it, and analyze what went on," Brunner said.

Local businesses damaged in protests

Small business owner Doug Cho was greeted with a busted door, shattered glass and stolen camera equipment hours after police and protesters clashed Tuesday night. He got a call from police just after midnight.

"There was nothing I could do so I just went home and to come back this morning," Cho said.

Cho doesn't believe protesters are behind the theft, but is certain that whoever broke into his store used the commotion on the streets as a distraction.

He isn't alone; many small business owners in the area are finding it tough to keep the doors open and are asking themselves, "What's next?"

"We've been trying to keep the business open, we've been trying to serve our customers, but it gets kind of tough when we see people running around, when we see tear gas around," San Francisco Pizza cashier Weverton Faria said.

Banker J. Russell Haycock came to work to find a busted store front window. But he says he should not be a target of protesters -- the sole mission of his bank is to make loans to individuals and small businesses in communities like Oakland, the very type of people who make up the 99 percent.

Awaken Caf? owner Cortt Dunlap knows that more demonstrations are planned for Wednesday, but remains optimistic.

"We are part of a new breed of business that are downtown Oakland that want to see a vibrant alive, bustling city center," he said.

Police will not say how many businesses were vandalized Tuesday night.

City leader address excessive force accusations

Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan held a press conference to discuss Tuesday's protests and address accusations of excessive force by the numerous law enforcement agencies at the scene.

Quan said she was saddened by the protests, adding, "We saw some of the best of the city and some of the worst."

Quan has asked Jordan to investigate the allegations of excessive force.

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Bay City News contributed to this report

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