Obama Visit Draws Protests | NBC Bay Area

Obama Visit Draws Protests

Over 100 protesters marching in the streets near Oakland's Fox Theater this evening where President Obama is expected to speak tonight burned a sign welcoming the president to town along with a U.S. flag.



    (Published Monday, July 23, 2012)

    More than 100 protesters marching in the streets near Oakland's Fox Theater MOnday where President Obama delivered a campaign speech have continued marching through downtown Oakland.

    Three protesters have been arrested throughout the day, including one suspected of assaulting a police officer with an air horn, and another suspected of battering an 11-year-old girl, according to police.

    Obama concluded his speech shortly after 8:30 p.m. and is expected to spend the night in San Francisco before departing for Oregon and Washington in the morning.

    After marching in the streets surrounding the Fox Theater at 1807 Telegraph Ave., protesters took off down Broadway at the conclusion of Obama's speech, changing the focus of their march from the president to an anti-police march.

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    While marching around the theater, a woman was arrested on suspicion of battering an 11-year-old girl, police Sgt. Chris Bolton said.

    That arrest, near the corner of 17th Street and Telegraph Avenue at around 7:15 p.m. came after a citizen reported that a woman protester was yelling at an 11-year-old girl and battered her.

    Police took custody of that arrest after a citizen's arrest, Bolton said.

    Bolton did not know immediately whether the girl was injured but said if she was, "I don't believe it was by any means life-threatening," he said.

    Protesters also burned a sign nearby welcoming the president to town along with a U.S. flag.

    The sign, posted outside the Merrill Sign Co. at 612 18th Street, said, "Welcome to Oakland President Obama, 99 percent Obamaland."

    Protesters used signs and poles they were holding to tear the sign off the side of the building, and set it on fire in the street along with a U.S. flag.

    The protesters had been blocking Broadway at 19th Street for several hours today before beginning to march shortly after 7 p.m.

    "Who's streets? Our streets!" the protesters chanted as they circled the closed streets around the Fox Theater.

    Protesters gathered on Broadway near 19th Street where the president's supporters had lined up to enter the theater. The demonstration blocked southbound traffic on Broadway until shortly before 6 p.m., when protesters moved to occupy the entire street.

    That protest was one of several throughout the day during several campaign stops the president made in Oakland and Piedmont. A march for medical marijuana concluded at Frank Ogawa Plaza at around 4 p.m. today.

    During today's demonstrations, one man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer by approaching an officer with an air horn and blowing it into the officer's ear near 19th Street and Broadway at around 3:30 p.m.

    Another man was arrested for violating a restraining order prohibiting him from being in Frank Ogawa Plaza, according to police.

    Police have monitoring the protest from patrol cars and on foot, but confrontations between police and protesters have been minimal.

    The protesters are angry with Obama over a variety of issues including war, environmental issues and federal medical marijuana crackdowns.

    Some protesters carried signs with slogans like "Down with the Empire" and "Stop the War, Stop the Drones."

    Frostpaw the Polar Bear, the mascot for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, was among the demonstrators gathered on Broadway today. The bear carried a sign that said, "Mr. President Don't Shill for Shell."