Occupy Oakland Protesters Clash with Police During Building Takeover Attempt

'Area of Oakland Museum and Kaiser Center severely impacted. Persons cutting and tearing fences for entry. Bottles and objects thrown at OPD,' OPD tweeted.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    About 300 protesters were arrested in Oakland tonight after multiple clashes with police. (Published Sunday, Jan 29, 2012)

    Protesters and police clashed with bottles and tear gas Saturday afternoon after more than 1,000 Occupy Oakland protesters tried to enter the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

    After meeting up at Frank Ogawa Plaza, protesters marched toward the building in hopes of making it their new meeting place and social center.

    An unknown number of arrests have been made.

    The march began around 1:30 a.m., with dozens of police in riot gear standing by. Around 2:30 p.m., marchers started teariing down fences around the convention center.

    @OaklandPoliceCA tweeted around 3 p.m. "Area of Oakland Museum and Kaiser Center severely impacted. Persons cutting and tearing fences for entry. Bottles and objects thrown at OPD,."

    Police eventually declared the area on Oak Street between 10th and 12th an unlawful assembly. They closed the street in that area, as well as Fallon Street at 10th Street and Second Avenue at 10th and 12th streets.

    During the rally one of the organizers, Shake Anderson, said, "We are here to protect each other and to be civil disobedient. ... We're doing it to change the world, not just today but every day."

    The protesters were walking through Laney College around 2:30 p.m. Some people were wearing bandanas over their mouths and others were holding signs saying, "We are the 99%." A marching band dressed in pink and black tutus and neon pick tights also was in the crowd.

    Once they reached the center, organizers planned to kick off a two-day "Oakland Rise-up Festival" to celebrate the establishment of the movement's new space.

    Occupy Oakland spokesman Leo Ritz-Bar said the group's new headquarters "signals a new direction for the Occupy movement: putting vacant buildings at the service of the community."

    He also warned that protesters could retaliate against any repressive police action by blocking the Oakland International Airport, occupying City Hall or shutting down the Port of Oakland.

    City officials said that while they are "committed to facilitating peaceful forms of expression and free speech, police would be prepared to arrest those who break the law.

    "The city of Oakland will not be bullied by threats of violence or illegal activity," city administrator Deanna Santana said in a statement.

    "This community has a rich history of community engagement and progressive activism to address the very complex issues that the protesters claim to stand for -- poverty, the housing crisis, homelessness, social justice, literacy, education and economic inequality -- none of which can be addressed through violence, threats or intimidation."

    On its website, the city has provided a list of social programs that locals can support, from homeless and affordable housing providers, educational organizations, parks and sustainable food programs.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.