Nine arrests made during protest

January 30, 2009 11:37:16 PM PST
In downtown Oakland protests got a bit intense on Friday evening. One of the scariest moments was when police threw flash bang grenades into the crowd. There were loud bangs and people were ducking and running. Still, the protest wasn't very violent when you consider the past protests.

Hearing screams of people on the ground getting arrested, watching people struggle with police and seeing the glass from a police car window, shattered by a protester was enough to motivate some Oakland business owners to board up their property.

"We don't want chance breaking any glass again," said an Oakland business owner.

Other businesses decided to send their employees home early.

"Because it's getting out of hand, people don't feel safe, we closed our office immediately," said Lernis Roberts, an Oakland resident.

But the violence that has erupted in past protests never materialized and at one intersection police warned protester before moving in. Police arrested nine people for failing to disperse. However, that is not many compared to the 100 arrests they made during the first protest three weeks ago.

"You have two minutes to leave if you refuse to move you will be arrested," said an officer through a bull horn.

A couple of protesters had cuts on their faces and one window was busted out of a police car, but no injuries or vandalism were reported. Police say that's because they were ready for this, but protesters questioned the need for all of these officers.

"This is an incredibly small protest, there's no reason for such an excessive presence of cops," said William Orr, a protester.

"I think that we were prepared for it and I think by having a number of officers assigned specifically for crowd control, had a bearing on the way things came out this afternoon," said Sgt. Don Covington, with the Oakland Police Department.

But some residents say they are simply fed up with these protests.

"It just really seems like the Oakland courts and the city itself aren't going to be able to deal with this by themselves, that maybe they should transfer this out of the county somewhere," said Lernis Roberts, an Oakland resident.

The activists say get used to them, since they plan to schedule more protests.