Occupy Oakland Throng Closes Down Port, Disrupts Dowtown Transit

OccupyO_port_a

 

Occupy Oakland Throng Closes Down Port

By Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila, and Kevin Fagan
SF Gate

Oakland — Thousands of people jammed into downtown Oakland on Wednesday for a general strike called by Occupy Oakland to protest economic inequity and corporate greed – then marched en masse to the Port of Oakland and shut it down.

As many as 7,000 people, by police estimates, clogged the main port entrance on Middle Harbor Road and seven other gates as the sun went down, chanting slogans and halting all truck traffic going in or out.

“Whose port? Our port!”

many yelled, while dozens climbed on top of the idled trucks and waved signs.

The few police officers within sight kept a considerable distance while the waterfront took on the air of a combination protest and street carnival, with everyone from office workers to gutter punks standing alongside each other denouncing inequality.

Port officials said in a statement that maritime operations were “effectively shut down.” Dozens of trucks sat idling at the port, unable to enter or leave, and the shutdown continued late into the night.

“It’s a victory,”

exulted one protester, 21-year-old Oakland art student Umar Shareef.

“To get all these people together as one unit is amazing.”

Andrez Quintanilla, a 28-year-old truck driver, was trying to drop off a load at the port, but was forced to cool his engines outside the entrance.

“It’s good what they’re doing,” he said.

“They’re trying to make sure everyone has their rights, but I wish they would let me go. I need to go home.”

Day of activism

Occupy Oakland demonstrators stand on top of a parked semi truck as thousands marched from downtown Oakland, Calif., to the port of Oakland on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo)

 

The first general strike called in Oakland since 1946 was largely peaceful. Young activists, middle-class wage earners, students and homeless people mingled good-naturedly as they held rallies and meditation meetings, heard speeches and marched to protest at dozens of downtown businesses and banks.

An ice cream truck handed out treats with protest slogans, and a flash mob danced to the old disco hit

“I Will Survive.”

Adam Bergman took his two children and one of their friends out of their Oakland elementary school for the protest. Concerned about violence, Bergman said he wanted to stay at the back of the pack.

“I think it is important to show them what’s happening right now,” he said.

“It’s part of our civic duty to support freedom of speech … to stand up for the 99 percent of us.”

There were some instances of vandalism, which interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said had been instigated by “60 to 70 anarchists … bent on causing problems.”

When protesters smashed windows at banks, a grocery and two small businesses, videos showed the instigators were mostly wearing black, with bandanas over their faces.

Jordan said in an evening press conference that there had been no arrests.

The most serious incident of the day came at 7:30 p.m. when the driver of a Mercedes-Benz ran into two protesters marching amid a crowd of about 500 on Broadway at 11th Street.

The victims, a man and a woman, were taken to Highland Hospital with leg and ankle injuries.

“It was a pretty volatile situation,”

said BART Police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig.

“There is no arrest at this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be if there’s a need for an arrest.”

He said the Oakland Police Department would do the follow-up inquiry.

Mini-city

By 11 p.m., the crowds at the port and downtown had dwindled significantly, and about 1,000 people were back at the City Hall plaza. While some stayed to revel in their port victory, several hundred peeled off to 520 16th St., a vacant building a couple of blocks away, took it over and hung a banner reading,

“Occupy everything.”

Earlier in the day, organizers expanded the Occupy Oakland encampment into a mini-city with medical pavilions, meditation tents and children’s zones. Lines for the portable toilets were about 20 deep, and the line for free food often had 50 people.

In between marches, the plaza’s amphitheater filled with more than 1,000 people as poets and others spoke to lambaste everything from excessive bank profits to capitalism itself.

“Today is about saying no to the 1 percent,”

said Cat Brooks, co-chairwoman of the Onyx Organizing Committee, an Oakland grassroots organization.

Few uniformed police officers were on the streets, although some showed up outside at least one bank to talk to the crowd about staying calm.

“Oakland has an opportunity tonight to show the country and the world what peaceful expression can look like,”

said City Administrator Deanna Santana.

“The world is watching.”

Businesses closed

In a statement, Mayor Jean Quan said she supported the goals of the protesters, but noted that many residents would not be participating in the strike.

“We must make sure that those who have to go to work and keep their businesses open are able to do so,” Quan said.

Some businesses did stay open, with a few of those bringing food to the protesters – but many downtown stores also closed for the day.

The closed stores included national chains such as Rite-Aid, Tully’s Coffee and Foot Locker. Some of the stores that remained open would only accept cash to honor the strike and avoid sending credit card fees to multinational corporations and banks.
Pounded on bank doors

The tensest moments during the daylight hours came when dozens of protesters clustered in front of bank branches, which quickly shut their doors and let in only a few customers at a time.

Demonstrators pounded on the doors, chanted slogans including,

“Don’t feed the greed,”

and drew graffiti with the same sentiments on windows and walls.

Protesters smashed windows around 3 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 12th Street and Broadway, a Bank of America near Lake Merritt, a dry-cleaning store, a Chase Bank branch and a financial office on Webster Street, and at a Whole Foods store on Bay Place – where vandals spray-painted “Strike” in large letters on the outside wall.

Several protesters said the vandals did not speak for them.

“This is not what we represent,”

said Erin Sitt, a student at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

“You can’t let a couple of sour apples ruin the bunch.”

Labor support

Major labor unions in the city expressed support for the movement, and though they could not legally strike for the day, many workers said they would take paid time off to participate.

More than 300 Oakland public schoolteachers did not show up for work, and others used the day to teach their students about the dynamics of protest. Most who took the day off had alerted the district in advance that they would be observing the general strike, but a shortage of substitutes forced some classes to be consolidated, district officials said.

City officials allowed public employees to take the day off, but every Oakland police officer was required to show up for work. About 5 percent of city employees called in to say they would be taking either an unpaid furlough or paid vacation day, officials said.

Chronicle staff writers Jill Tucker, Joe Garofoli and Justin Berton contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at dbulwa@sfchronicle.com, mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com and kfagan@sfchronicle.com.

 

Source:  SF Gate

 

 

Protestors Shut Down Port of Oakland

By Staff
Bay City News

Oakland, Calif. — Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said that as a result of the Occupy Oakland protest march Wednesday night,

“maritime operations are effectively shut down.”

He said the maritime operations will only resume

“when it is safe and secure to do so.”

Benjamin said protesters are blocking truckers at the port from leaving.

Benjamin said

“we are asking that everyone remain calm, respectful and safe and ask that port worker be allowed to get home safely.”

Some protesters at the Port climbed atop big-rig trucks and began dancing while others hung a banner from scaffolding that read,

“This is what democracy looks like.”

Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said that he believes a small group of anarchists is responsible for vandalism that struck five businesses in Oakland earlier in the day.

Jordan said the police believe about 4,500 people participated in the general strike. He said most protesters were peaceful but that about 60 to 70 anarchists, who he said “were bent on creating problems,” caused the vandalism.

He said the anarchists dressed distinctively and wore all-black clothing and handkerchiefs.

Jordan said police believe they know who those responsible are, but no one has been arrested so far.

Jordan estimated that about 3,000 protesters marched to the Port of Oakland Wednesday night.

A large purple United Healthcare Workers West bus was waiting at 14th Street and Broadway to take a load of protesters to the port.

No police officers could be seen near Frank Ogawa Plaza.

About 100 children, parents, and teachers arrived at Frank Ogawa Plaza shortly before 5 p.m. after marching from the city’s main library, chanting

“We are the 99 percent.”

Environmental activist Annie Leonard, 47, was among them.

“I just get so happy to see this many people standing up for justice,” she said.

“This really feels different because it’s too big to put back in the bottle,” she said.

Leonard said that she had just visited Australia last week and visited some of the Occupy movements going on there.

“Everybody asked me about Oakland. It was all over the news,” she said.

During the protests earlier in the day, a festive mood prevailed among most participants in downtown Oakland as several thousand people joined the day of action, which espouses a wide variety of causes.

The cheerfulness was contrasted by vandalism later in the day at businesses including several banks and the Whole Foods off of Grand Avenue.

Wednesday morning, protesters blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway and adjacent streets in the heart of the city’s downtown, and there were speakers and music from two podiums in the area.

Some people danced in the street and others marched on downtown banks, most of which were closed for the all or part of the day.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said there hadn’t been any arrests as of 12:30 p.m.

A large banner proclaimed

“Death to Capitalism, Occupy Everything”

and a man carried a sign that read,

“Capitalism Is Organized Crime.”

Protesters carried signs with anti-bank slogans as they blocked the entrance of the Citibank branch office at 1333 Broadway, including one that read,

“We got tossed out, they got bailed out.”

Whole Foods in Oakland is shutting down for the day after windows were smashed and paint was thrown on the storefront during protests related to the general strike, a Whole Foods spokeswoman said.

The word “strike” was painted in large letters across the front windows of the store, located at 230 Bay Place off of Grand Avenue, shortly before 3 p.m., an employee at a 7-Eleven across the street said.

Rumors had spread on Facebook and Twitter earlier that Whole Foods employees would be penalized for participating in Wednesday’s protests.

“That’s totally false,”

Whole Foods spokeswoman Jennifer Marples said.

“Team members were totally supported in going, and were not going to lose their job if they supported the Occupy Oakland protests.”

“All the team members were spoken to and everyone was supported and no one was going to lose their jobs as a result,” Marples said.

She said no one was hurt during the vandalism, which occurred during one of many marches through the streets of Oakland.

As of 4:30 p.m., there was spray paint all over the Wells Fargo bank at 12th and Broadway, and the bank’s front windows were smashed.

Some of the graffiti read,

“F— the bank,” and

“Don’t feed the greed.”

The Wells Fargo and a Comerica Bank branch nearby were closed.

A sign at Comerica stated,

“This office is closed due to an emergency”

and advised customers to go to other branch offices in Alameda and San Leandro.

A Walgreens drugstore at 14th and Broadway was open part of the morning but was closed in the afternoon. The Rite Aid drugstore on the opposite side of the intersection was closed.

Among the other businesses near 14th Street and Broadway that were closed were the Men’s Wearhouse, Footlocker, Pizza Man, Tully’s Coffee and Broadway Beauty.

But some businesses remained open, including Payless Shoes, Burger King and De Lauer’s newsstand.

Most businesses in the Oakland City Center shopping mall also remained open.

Among the causes espoused by Occupy Oakland protesters in their general strike were stopping banks from foreclosing on homes and directing more money to schools and libraries.

A librarian carried a sign saying, “When librarians are marching, you know something is wrong.”

One man carried a sign saying,

“End Oil Subsidies”

and another handed out flyers asking that Mumia Abu Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, be freed.

Several socialist and communist groups set up bookstands and distributed leaflets, including the Workers Vanguard, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Socialist Workers Campaign.

The International Socialist Organization distributed fliers for a Marxism conference that will be held at the University of California at Berkeley campus on Saturday.

Source: Bay City News

 

Oakland Protest Disrupts AC Transit Downtown

By Henry K. Lee
SF Gate

Oakland — Public transit is being rerouted in downtown Oakland because protesters taking part in a general strike today have blocked a busy intersection.

AC Transit buses on several lines are taking detours around 14th and Broadway, where hundreds of people are taking part in a rally associated with Occupy Oakland. A complete list of detours is available at www.actransit.org.

Authorities are suggesting that drivers avoid the area.

BART has not reported any disruptions to train service through downtown Oakland.

 

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

Source:  SF Gate

Background:  Longshore Workers Dump Scab Grain to Protect Jobs

 

 

 

Occupy Oakland Throng Closes Down Port

By Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila, and Kevin Fagan
SF Gate

Oakland — Thousands of people jammed into downtown Oakland on Wednesday for a general strike called by Occupy Oakland to protest economic inequity and corporate greed – then marched en masse to the Port of Oakland and shut it down.

As many as 7,000 people, by police estimates, clogged the main port entrance on Middle Harbor Road and seven other gates as the sun went down, chanting slogans and halting all truck traffic going in or out.

“Whose port? Our port!”

many yelled, while dozens climbed on top of the idled trucks and waved signs.

The few police officers within sight kept a considerable distance while the waterfront took on the air of a combination protest and street carnival, with everyone from office workers to gutter punks standing alongside each other denouncing inequality.

Port officials said in a statement that maritime operations were “effectively shut down.” Dozens of trucks sat idling at the port, unable to enter or leave, and the shutdown continued late into the night.

“It’s a victory,”

exulted one protester, 21-year-old Oakland art student Umar Shareef.

“To get all these people together as one unit is amazing.”

Andrez Quintanilla, a 28-year-old truck driver, was trying to drop off a load at the port, but was forced to cool his engines outside the entrance.

“It’s good what they’re doing,” he said.

“They’re trying to make sure everyone has their rights, but I wish they would let me go. I need to go home.”

Day of activism

Occupy Oakland demonstrators stand on top of a parked semi truck as thousands marched from downtown Oakland, Calif., to the port of Oakland on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo)

 

The first general strike called in Oakland since 1946 was largely peaceful. Young activists, middle-class wage earners, students and homeless people mingled good-naturedly as they held rallies and meditation meetings, heard speeches and marched to protest at dozens of downtown businesses and banks.

An ice cream truck handed out treats with protest slogans, and a flash mob danced to the old disco hit

“I Will Survive.”

Adam Bergman took his two children and one of their friends out of their Oakland elementary school for the protest. Concerned about violence, Bergman said he wanted to stay at the back of the pack.

“I think it is important to show them what’s happening right now,” he said.

“It’s part of our civic duty to support freedom of speech … to stand up for the 99 percent of us.”

There were some instances of vandalism, which interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said had been instigated by “60 to 70 anarchists … bent on causing problems.”

When protesters smashed windows at banks, a grocery and two small businesses, videos showed the instigators were mostly wearing black, with bandanas over their faces.

Jordan said in an evening press conference that there had been no arrests.

The most serious incident of the day came at 7:30 p.m. when the driver of a Mercedes-Benz ran into two protesters marching amid a crowd of about 500 on Broadway at 11th Street.

The victims, a man and a woman, were taken to Highland Hospital with leg and ankle injuries.

“It was a pretty volatile situation,”

said BART Police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig.

“There is no arrest at this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be if there’s a need for an arrest.”

He said the Oakland Police Department would do the follow-up inquiry.

Mini-city

By 11 p.m., the crowds at the port and downtown had dwindled significantly, and about 1,000 people were back at the City Hall plaza. While some stayed to revel in their port victory, several hundred peeled off to 520 16th St., a vacant building a couple of blocks away, took it over and hung a banner reading,

“Occupy everything.”

Earlier in the day, organizers expanded the Occupy Oakland encampment into a mini-city with medical pavilions, meditation tents and children’s zones. Lines for the portable toilets were about 20 deep, and the line for free food often had 50 people.

In between marches, the plaza’s amphitheater filled with more than 1,000 people as poets and others spoke to lambaste everything from excessive bank profits to capitalism itself.

“Today is about saying no to the 1 percent,”

said Cat Brooks, co-chairwoman of the Onyx Organizing Committee, an Oakland grassroots organization.

Few uniformed police officers were on the streets, although some showed up outside at least one bank to talk to the crowd about staying calm.

“Oakland has an opportunity tonight to show the country and the world what peaceful expression can look like,”

said City Administrator Deanna Santana.

“The world is watching.”

Businesses closed

In a statement, Mayor Jean Quan said she supported the goals of the protesters, but noted that many residents would not be participating in the strike.

“We must make sure that those who have to go to work and keep their businesses open are able to do so,” Quan said.

Some businesses did stay open, with a few of those bringing food to the protesters – but many downtown stores also closed for the day.

The closed stores included national chains such as Rite-Aid, Tully’s Coffee and Foot Locker. Some of the stores that remained open would only accept cash to honor the strike and avoid sending credit card fees to multinational corporations and banks.
Pounded on bank doors

The tensest moments during the daylight hours came when dozens of protesters clustered in front of bank branches, which quickly shut their doors and let in only a few customers at a time.

Demonstrators pounded on the doors, chanted slogans including,

“Don’t feed the greed,”

and drew graffiti with the same sentiments on windows and walls.

Protesters smashed windows around 3 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 12th Street and Broadway, a Bank of America near Lake Merritt, a dry-cleaning store, a Chase Bank branch and a financial office on Webster Street, and at a Whole Foods store on Bay Place – where vandals spray-painted “Strike” in large letters on the outside wall.

Several protesters said the vandals did not speak for them.

“This is not what we represent,”

said Erin Sitt, a student at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

“You can’t let a couple of sour apples ruin the bunch.”

Labor support

Major labor unions in the city expressed support for the movement, and though they could not legally strike for the day, many workers said they would take paid time off to participate.

More than 300 Oakland public schoolteachers did not show up for work, and others used the day to teach their students about the dynamics of protest. Most who took the day off had alerted the district in advance that they would be observing the general strike, but a shortage of substitutes forced some classes to be consolidated, district officials said.

City officials allowed public employees to take the day off, but every Oakland police officer was required to show up for work. About 5 percent of city employees called in to say they would be taking either an unpaid furlough or paid vacation day, officials said.

Chronicle staff writers Jill Tucker, Joe Garofoli and Justin Berton contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at dbulwa@sfchronicle.com, mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com and kfagan@sfchronicle.com.

 

Source:  SF Gate

 

 

Protestors Shut Down Port of Oakland

By Staff
Bay City News

Oakland, Calif. — Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said that as a result of the Occupy Oakland protest march Wednesday night,

“maritime operations are effectively shut down.”

He said the maritime operations will only resume

“when it is safe and secure to do so.”

Benjamin said protesters are blocking truckers at the port from leaving.

Benjamin said

“we are asking that everyone remain calm, respectful and safe and ask that port worker be allowed to get home safely.”

Some protesters at the Port climbed atop big-rig trucks and began dancing while others hung a banner from scaffolding that read,

“This is what democracy looks like.”

Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said that he believes a small group of anarchists is responsible for vandalism that struck five businesses in Oakland earlier in the day.

Jordan said the police believe about 4,500 people participated in the general strike. He said most protesters were peaceful but that about 60 to 70 anarchists, who he said “were bent on creating problems,” caused the vandalism.

He said the anarchists dressed distinctively and wore all-black clothing and handkerchiefs.

Jordan said police believe they know who those responsible are, but no one has been arrested so far.

Jordan estimated that about 3,000 protesters marched to the Port of Oakland Wednesday night.

A large purple United Healthcare Workers West bus was waiting at 14th Street and Broadway to take a load of protesters to the port.

No police officers could be seen near Frank Ogawa Plaza.

About 100 children, parents, and teachers arrived at Frank Ogawa Plaza shortly before 5 p.m. after marching from the city’s main library, chanting

“We are the 99 percent.”

Environmental activist Annie Leonard, 47, was among them.

“I just get so happy to see this many people standing up for justice,” she said.

“This really feels different because it’s too big to put back in the bottle,” she said.

Leonard said that she had just visited Australia last week and visited some of the Occupy movements going on there.

“Everybody asked me about Oakland. It was all over the news,” she said.

During the protests earlier in the day, a festive mood prevailed among most participants in downtown Oakland as several thousand people joined the day of action, which espouses a wide variety of causes.

The cheerfulness was contrasted by vandalism later in the day at businesses including several banks and the Whole Foods off of Grand Avenue.

Wednesday morning, protesters blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway and adjacent streets in the heart of the city’s downtown, and there were speakers and music from two podiums in the area.

Some people danced in the street and others marched on downtown banks, most of which were closed for the all or part of the day.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said there hadn’t been any arrests as of 12:30 p.m.

A large banner proclaimed

“Death to Capitalism, Occupy Everything”

and a man carried a sign that read,

“Capitalism Is Organized Crime.”

Protesters carried signs with anti-bank slogans as they blocked the entrance of the Citibank branch office at 1333 Broadway, including one that read,

“We got tossed out, they got bailed out.”

Whole Foods in Oakland is shutting down for the day after windows were smashed and paint was thrown on the storefront during protests related to the general strike, a Whole Foods spokeswoman said.

The word “strike” was painted in large letters across the front windows of the store, located at 230 Bay Place off of Grand Avenue, shortly before 3 p.m., an employee at a 7-Eleven across the street said.

Rumors had spread on Facebook and Twitter earlier that Whole Foods employees would be penalized for participating in Wednesday’s protests.

“That’s totally false,”

Whole Foods spokeswoman Jennifer Marples said.

“Team members were totally supported in going, and were not going to lose their job if they supported the Occupy Oakland protests.”

“All the team members were spoken to and everyone was supported and no one was going to lose their jobs as a result,” Marples said.

She said no one was hurt during the vandalism, which occurred during one of many marches through the streets of Oakland.

As of 4:30 p.m., there was spray paint all over the Wells Fargo bank at 12th and Broadway, and the bank’s front windows were smashed.

Some of the graffiti read,

“F— the bank,” and

“Don’t feed the greed.”

The Wells Fargo and a Comerica Bank branch nearby were closed.

A sign at Comerica stated,

“This office is closed due to an emergency”

and advised customers to go to other branch offices in Alameda and San Leandro.

A Walgreens drugstore at 14th and Broadway was open part of the morning but was closed in the afternoon. The Rite Aid drugstore on the opposite side of the intersection was closed.

Among the other businesses near 14th Street and Broadway that were closed were the Men’s Wearhouse, Footlocker, Pizza Man, Tully’s Coffee and Broadway Beauty.

But some businesses remained open, including Payless Shoes, Burger King and De Lauer’s newsstand.

Most businesses in the Oakland City Center shopping mall also remained open.

Among the causes espoused by Occupy Oakland protesters in their general strike were stopping banks from foreclosing on homes and directing more money to schools and libraries.

A librarian carried a sign saying, “When librarians are marching, you know something is wrong.”

One man carried a sign saying,

“End Oil Subsidies”

and another handed out flyers asking that Mumia Abu Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, be freed.

Several socialist and communist groups set up bookstands and distributed leaflets, including the Workers Vanguard, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Socialist Workers Campaign.

The International Socialist Organization distributed fliers for a Marxism conference that will be held at the University of California at Berkeley campus on Saturday.

Source: Bay City News

 

Oakland Protest Disrupts AC Transit Downtown

By Henry K. Lee
SF Gate

Oakland — Public transit is being rerouted in downtown Oakland because protesters taking part in a general strike today have blocked a busy intersection.

AC Transit buses on several lines are taking detours around 14th and Broadway, where hundreds of people are taking part in a rally associated with Occupy Oakland. A complete list of detours is available at www.actransit.org.

Authorities are suggesting that drivers avoid the area.

BART has not reported any disruptions to train service through downtown Oakland.

 

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

Source:  SF Gate

Background:  Longshore Workers Dump Scab Grain to Protect Jobs

 

 

Occupy Oakland Throng Closes Down Port

By Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila, and Kevin Fagan
SF Gate

Oakland — Thousands of people jammed into downtown Oakland on Wednesday for a general strike called by Occupy Oakland to protest economic inequity and corporate greed – then marched en masse to the Port of Oakland and shut it down.

As many as 7,000 people, by police estimates, clogged the main port entrance on Middle Harbor Road and seven other gates as the sun went down, chanting slogans and halting all truck traffic going in or out.

“Whose port? Our port!”

many yelled, while dozens climbed on top of the idled trucks and waved signs.

The few police officers within sight kept a considerable distance while the waterfront took on the air of a combination protest and street carnival, with everyone from office workers to gutter punks standing alongside each other denouncing inequality.

Port officials said in a statement that maritime operations were “effectively shut down.” Dozens of trucks sat idling at the port, unable to enter or leave, and the shutdown continued late into the night.

“It’s a victory,”

exulted one protester, 21-year-old Oakland art student Umar Shareef.

“To get all these people together as one unit is amazing.”

Andrez Quintanilla, a 28-year-old truck driver, was trying to drop off a load at the port, but was forced to cool his engines outside the entrance.

“It’s good what they’re doing,” he said.

“They’re trying to make sure everyone has their rights, but I wish they would let me go. I need to go home.”

Day of activism

Occupy Oakland demonstrators stand on top of a parked semi truck as thousands marched from downtown Oakland, Calif., to the port of Oakland on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo)

 

The first general strike called in Oakland since 1946 was largely peaceful. Young activists, middle-class wage earners, students and homeless people mingled good-naturedly as they held rallies and meditation meetings, heard speeches and marched to protest at dozens of downtown businesses and banks.

An ice cream truck handed out treats with protest slogans, and a flash mob danced to the old disco hit

“I Will Survive.”

Adam Bergman took his two children and one of their friends out of their Oakland elementary school for the protest. Concerned about violence, Bergman said he wanted to stay at the back of the pack.

“I think it is important to show them what’s happening right now,” he said.

“It’s part of our civic duty to support freedom of speech … to stand up for the 99 percent of us.”

There were some instances of vandalism, which interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said had been instigated by “60 to 70 anarchists … bent on causing problems.”

When protesters smashed windows at banks, a grocery and two small businesses, videos showed the instigators were mostly wearing black, with bandanas over their faces.

Jordan said in an evening press conference that there had been no arrests.

The most serious incident of the day came at 7:30 p.m. when the driver of a Mercedes-Benz ran into two protesters marching amid a crowd of about 500 on Broadway at 11th Street.

The victims, a man and a woman, were taken to Highland Hospital with leg and ankle injuries.

“It was a pretty volatile situation,”

said BART Police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig.

“There is no arrest at this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be if there’s a need for an arrest.”

He said the Oakland Police Department would do the follow-up inquiry.

Mini-city

By 11 p.m., the crowds at the port and downtown had dwindled significantly, and about 1,000 people were back at the City Hall plaza. While some stayed to revel in their port victory, several hundred peeled off to 520 16th St., a vacant building a couple of blocks away, took it over and hung a banner reading,

“Occupy everything.”

Earlier in the day, organizers expanded the Occupy Oakland encampment into a mini-city with medical pavilions, meditation tents and children’s zones. Lines for the portable toilets were about 20 deep, and the line for free food often had 50 people.

In between marches, the plaza’s amphitheater filled with more than 1,000 people as poets and others spoke to lambaste everything from excessive bank profits to capitalism itself.

“Today is about saying no to the 1 percent,”

said Cat Brooks, co-chairwoman of the Onyx Organizing Committee, an Oakland grassroots organization.

Few uniformed police officers were on the streets, although some showed up outside at least one bank to talk to the crowd about staying calm.

“Oakland has an opportunity tonight to show the country and the world what peaceful expression can look like,”

said City Administrator Deanna Santana.

“The world is watching.”

Businesses closed

In a statement, Mayor Jean Quan said she supported the goals of the protesters, but noted that many residents would not be participating in the strike.

“We must make sure that those who have to go to work and keep their businesses open are able to do so,” Quan said.

Some businesses did stay open, with a few of those bringing food to the protesters – but many downtown stores also closed for the day.

The closed stores included national chains such as Rite-Aid, Tully’s Coffee and Foot Locker. Some of the stores that remained open would only accept cash to honor the strike and avoid sending credit card fees to multinational corporations and banks.
Pounded on bank doors

The tensest moments during the daylight hours came when dozens of protesters clustered in front of bank branches, which quickly shut their doors and let in only a few customers at a time.

Demonstrators pounded on the doors, chanted slogans including,

“Don’t feed the greed,”

and drew graffiti with the same sentiments on windows and walls.

Protesters smashed windows around 3 p.m. at a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 12th Street and Broadway, a Bank of America near Lake Merritt, a dry-cleaning store, a Chase Bank branch and a financial office on Webster Street, and at a Whole Foods store on Bay Place – where vandals spray-painted “Strike” in large letters on the outside wall.

Several protesters said the vandals did not speak for them.

“This is not what we represent,”

said Erin Sitt, a student at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

“You can’t let a couple of sour apples ruin the bunch.”

Labor support

Major labor unions in the city expressed support for the movement, and though they could not legally strike for the day, many workers said they would take paid time off to participate.

More than 300 Oakland public schoolteachers did not show up for work, and others used the day to teach their students about the dynamics of protest. Most who took the day off had alerted the district in advance that they would be observing the general strike, but a shortage of substitutes forced some classes to be consolidated, district officials said.

City officials allowed public employees to take the day off, but every Oakland police officer was required to show up for work. About 5 percent of city employees called in to say they would be taking either an unpaid furlough or paid vacation day, officials said.

Chronicle staff writers Jill Tucker, Joe Garofoli and Justin Berton contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at dbulwa@sfchronicle.com, mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com and kfagan@sfchronicle.com.

 

Source:  SF Gate

 

 

Protestors Shut Down Port of Oakland

By Staff
Bay City News

Oakland, Calif. — Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said that as a result of the Occupy Oakland protest march Wednesday night,

“maritime operations are effectively shut down.”

He said the maritime operations will only resume

“when it is safe and secure to do so.”

Benjamin said protesters are blocking truckers at the port from leaving.

Benjamin said

“we are asking that everyone remain calm, respectful and safe and ask that port worker be allowed to get home safely.”

Some protesters at the Port climbed atop big-rig trucks and began dancing while others hung a banner from scaffolding that read,

“This is what democracy looks like.”

Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said that he believes a small group of anarchists is responsible for vandalism that struck five businesses in Oakland earlier in the day.

Jordan said the police believe about 4,500 people participated in the general strike. He said most protesters were peaceful but that about 60 to 70 anarchists, who he said “were bent on creating problems,” caused the vandalism.

He said the anarchists dressed distinctively and wore all-black clothing and handkerchiefs.

Jordan said police believe they know who those responsible are, but no one has been arrested so far.

Jordan estimated that about 3,000 protesters marched to the Port of Oakland Wednesday night.

A large purple United Healthcare Workers West bus was waiting at 14th Street and Broadway to take a load of protesters to the port.

No police officers could be seen near Frank Ogawa Plaza.

About 100 children, parents, and teachers arrived at Frank Ogawa Plaza shortly before 5 p.m. after marching from the city’s main library, chanting

“We are the 99 percent.”

Environmental activist Annie Leonard, 47, was among them.

“I just get so happy to see this many people standing up for justice,” she said.

“This really feels different because it’s too big to put back in the bottle,” she said.

Leonard said that she had just visited Australia last week and visited some of the Occupy movements going on there.

“Everybody asked me about Oakland. It was all over the news,” she said.

During the protests earlier in the day, a festive mood prevailed among most participants in downtown Oakland as several thousand people joined the day of action, which espouses a wide variety of causes.

The cheerfulness was contrasted by vandalism later in the day at businesses including several banks and the Whole Foods off of Grand Avenue.

Wednesday morning, protesters blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway and adjacent streets in the heart of the city’s downtown, and there were speakers and music from two podiums in the area.

Some people danced in the street and others marched on downtown banks, most of which were closed for the all or part of the day.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said there hadn’t been any arrests as of 12:30 p.m.

A large banner proclaimed

“Death to Capitalism, Occupy Everything”

and a man carried a sign that read,

“Capitalism Is Organized Crime.”

Protesters carried signs with anti-bank slogans as they blocked the entrance of the Citibank branch office at 1333 Broadway, including one that read,

“We got tossed out, they got bailed out.”

Whole Foods in Oakland is shutting down for the day after windows were smashed and paint was thrown on the storefront during protests related to the general strike, a Whole Foods spokeswoman said.

The word “strike” was painted in large letters across the front windows of the store, located at 230 Bay Place off of Grand Avenue, shortly before 3 p.m., an employee at a 7-Eleven across the street said.

Rumors had spread on Facebook and Twitter earlier that Whole Foods employees would be penalized for participating in Wednesday’s protests.

“That’s totally false,”

Whole Foods spokeswoman Jennifer Marples said.

“Team members were totally supported in going, and were not going to lose their job if they supported the Occupy Oakland protests.”

“All the team members were spoken to and everyone was supported and no one was going to lose their jobs as a result,” Marples said.

She said no one was hurt during the vandalism, which occurred during one of many marches through the streets of Oakland.

As of 4:30 p.m., there was spray paint all over the Wells Fargo bank at 12th and Broadway, and the bank’s front windows were smashed.

Some of the graffiti read,

“F— the bank,” and

“Don’t feed the greed.”

The Wells Fargo and a Comerica Bank branch nearby were closed.

A sign at Comerica stated,

“This office is closed due to an emergency”

and advised customers to go to other branch offices in Alameda and San Leandro.

A Walgreens drugstore at 14th and Broadway was open part of the morning but was closed in the afternoon. The Rite Aid drugstore on the opposite side of the intersection was closed.

Among the other businesses near 14th Street and Broadway that were closed were the Men’s Wearhouse, Footlocker, Pizza Man, Tully’s Coffee and Broadway Beauty.

But some businesses remained open, including Payless Shoes, Burger King and De Lauer’s newsstand.

Most businesses in the Oakland City Center shopping mall also remained open.

Among the causes espoused by Occupy Oakland protesters in their general strike were stopping banks from foreclosing on homes and directing more money to schools and libraries.

A librarian carried a sign saying, “When librarians are marching, you know something is wrong.”

One man carried a sign saying,

“End Oil Subsidies”

and another handed out flyers asking that Mumia Abu Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, be freed.

Several socialist and communist groups set up bookstands and distributed leaflets, including the Workers Vanguard, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Socialist Workers Campaign.

The International Socialist Organization distributed fliers for a Marxism conference that will be held at the University of California at Berkeley campus on Saturday.

Source: Bay City News

 

Oakland Protest Disrupts AC Transit Downtown

By Henry K. Lee
SF Gate

Oakland — Public transit is being rerouted in downtown Oakland because protesters taking part in a general strike today have blocked a busy intersection.

AC Transit buses on several lines are taking detours around 14th and Broadway, where hundreds of people are taking part in a rally associated with Occupy Oakland. A complete list of detours is available at www.actransit.org.

Authorities are suggesting that drivers avoid the area.

BART has not reported any disruptions to train service through downtown Oakland.

 

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

Source:  SF Gate

Background:  Longshore Workers Dump Scab Grain to Protect Jobs

 

 

 

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