Few buildings damaged in Oakland protests

(KGO)
May 2, 2012 5:40:09 PM PDT
May Day protesters caused damage on both sides of the bay Tuesday and police arrested dozens of demonstrators in both Oakland and San Francisco.

The scene in Oakland was much different Wednesday than it was Tuesday. On a day to cleanup and reflect, there could be found two very different perspectives on how things went. one from the city and police, the other from the demonstrators.

The tackling and arrest of a female bicyclist by Pakland police officers seemed to turn the tide on Tuesday's demonstrations, marches, and rallies that up until then, had been peaceful. "From our perspective, there was a great deal of police force out here all through the day," Laleh Behbehanian said told ABC7 News. Behbehanian is with Occupy Oakland's Anti-Repression Committee, which assists demonstrators who've been arrested.

Police say the cyclist woman broke the law in some way before her arrest. The demonstrators claim the way she was treated set the tone for the rest of the day. "They would target a particular individual, arrest them in a very violent manner, bring the kind of anger and outrage of the crowd out, and basically kind of incite the crowd," Behbehanian said.

"I think it worked well because when we identified people in a crowd that were responsible for committing acts of violence or vandalism, we were able to arrest them," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said. He and city leaders were pleased with the way things went Tuesday. There were 37 arrests, 27 of them for obstructing police and the rest for battery, failing to disperse, and violating a stay-away order.

They all happened during a daylong series of events that involved as many as 5,000 people, among them, a small number who appeared intent on confrontation. "But our goal yesterday was to identify those folks, identify the illegal behavior, make arrests, get them out of the crowd so that the vast majority of the people who were there to protest in a peaceful way could do so," explained Karen Boyd with city of Oakland .

On Wednesday morning, city crews and private companies cleaned up the graffiti and debris. Two banks near 20th and Broadway were especially hard hit. At the Wells Fargo bank on Franklin Street, some windows were spared, but many were taken out. One was smashed with a wrench. The damage was far worse up the street at the California Bank and Trust at 20th and Franklin, where even more and larger windows were destroyed. ATM machines were smashed at both locations.

Wells Fargo issued a statement saying, "We are disappointed by the vandalism that took place against small and large businesses that provide jobs and services to Oakland. Wells Fargo will continue to invest in the Oakland community through our volunteerism and philanthropy."

Nearby businesses that were spared, including a Burger King, may have been saved by clearly stating their support for the Occupy movement with a sign. Another store also had a similar sign in its window. "People should act more civilized and have better common sense than taking their actions out on the city of Oakland," Hayward resident Simone Jackson said. "It's ridiculous."

Of those arrested Tuesday, most were cited and released. Occupy Oakland says 16 remain in custody including the female cyclist. They are all expected to be arraigned sometime Thursday.


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