6 arrested during anti-police march

January 8, 2012 12:44:04 PM PST
Six were arrested in downtown Oakland for charges including vandalism, assaulting police officers and possession of explosives during an anti-police march on Saturday night organized by Occupy Oakland protesters, police said.

The march was organized by a branch of Occupy Oakland called the "Tactical Action Committee," protesters at the scene said, and began at around 8 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said that six protesters had been arrested by 11 p.m.

The march snaked through downtown Oakland, and Watson said that during the march protesters broke police car windows, vandalized a media van, threw bottles at police and lit a fire near the corner of Eighth and Washington streets.

Watson said the six arrests were for assaulting officers, possession of explosives, resisting or delaying officers and vandalism. The explosive recovered was a quarter-stick of dynamite, Watson said.

Occupy Oakland protester Spencer Mills, who frequently broadcasts demonstrations on the Internet, condemned protesters he saw throwing bottles from the back of the crowd, calling them "cowards" and stressing that the majority of Occupy Oakland protesters do not condone violence.

The march comes amid increased tensions between Occupy Oakland protesters and city officials as protesters have charged that police have harassed protesters at Occupy Oakland actions in recent weeks.

After 12 were arrested Wednesday in Frank Ogawa Plaza at an ongoing vigil there, the National Lawyers Guild and protesters from the group's Interfaith Tent decried what they called continued harassment by the police.

Members of the Interfaith Tent called for protesters to enter City Hall on Thursday to confront city officials, and several dozen protesters attempted to that afternoon.

However, the doors to City Hall were locked, but after negotiations, three members of the Interfaith Tent were allowed inside for a meeting with city officials.

While recounting the meeting to the crowd waiting outside at the front door of the building, two more protesters were arrested at a side door on 14th Street, protesters said.

Organizers of Saturday's march have called for a weekly anti-police march on Saturday nights.