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PHOTOS: Thousands protest in Occupy Oakland general strike, shutting down port

Occupy Oakland protesters marching toward the Port of Oakland. (Jennifer Courtney / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

More than 10,000 protesters filled the streets of Oakland Wednesday, marching, chanting, and demanding a better deal for ordinary people as part of a general strike called by the Occupy Oakland movement.

After marching through Downtown Oakland in the afternoon, stopping in front of branches of several large banks to protest, thousands moved toward the Port of Oakland, blocking truck traffic into and out of the area and effectively shutting one of the busiest ports on the U.S. West Coast.

Although chaotic — more than once, a protest march divided in two as protesters could not agree on one direction to march in — the demonstrations were largely peaceful until late in the evening, when dozens of protesters were arrested in Downtown Oakland.

Windows were broken at branches of large banks including Chase and Bank of America, and buildings, including the Whole Foods Market at 27th and Oakland Ave., were vandalized.

As protesters marched to the Port of Oakland, swarms of police officers from around the Bay Area arrived, but mostly kept their distance. The blockade of the roads leading to the port prevented some port workers from leaving for hours and frustrated truckers, who said they would suffer financially from delays to their loads.

Diverse crowd has diverse reasons for protesting

The strike and protest, which caused many Oakland businesses to close for the day or send their employees home early, drew protesters from all walks of life — though their reasons for participating were as diverse as the crowd itself.

Dan, an Oakland resident who attended the protest in an SEIU Local 1026 T-shirt, said he was there to “support the 99%” and “show our frustration” with “corporate America.” “I hope it gets the message out to corporate America” to stop the “greed” and create good jobs with health benefits and job security, he said.

But Oakland resident Kas had a different view. The only public places in this age are “consumer places” such as shopping malls, she said, and hoped the Occupy movement would “create solidarity” between people from different social circles.

Meanwhile, Mandy Cohen, a UC Berkeley graduate student, was there to oppose public education cuts and student tuition hikes. Education is a “public good,” she said, adding that “money should not be running our system.” The Occupy movement “shares a message” with her cause and has “found a really powerful way to express their opinion,” she said.

If there was one thing which protesters could agree on, it was that violence and vandalism were not a solution.

Breaking windows “does not help build the kind of movement we need,” said Joel Britton of the Socialist Workers Party, who hoped the Occupy movement could build support for a federal job creation program.

A sign was taped to a shattered window at the Chase branch at 20th and Webster Streets in Downtown Oakland reading “We are better than this.”

Kas, though, was more ambivalent about the vandalism. “I’m a little upset” by the vandalism, she said, but said that the idea was “not wrong per se.”

Mayor Quan praises protesters, but draws fire from all sides

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan praised the mostly peaceful protests, calling it a “good day for demonstrators and the 99%.” That, however, did not stop the criticism of her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests from pouring in from all sides.

Downtown Oakland merchants complained that the continuing occupation of Frank Ogawa Plaza was hurting business, with many saying the plaza should have stayed open after it was cleared in a police raid last week.

But protesters, still angry about the raid, in which tear gas was used and a military veteran was critically injured, were observed carrying anti-Jean Quan signs during protest marches Wednesday.

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  • Steve Thompson said:

    As shown in this article, the Congressional Budget Office found that banking industry executives, managers, supervisors and financial professionals accounted for 60 percent of the increase in income accruing to the top 1 percent in America between 1979 and 2005:


    Apparently, too much is never enough of a good thing for the top of the income heap in the United States.

  • Spo101 said:

    “THE Devil knew not what he did when he made man politic…” Shakespeare
    The 2011 Fall season, broadcast news media makes me laugh. Here I am longing for in-depth news or investigative reports about a whole multitude of vital issues and timely subject matter… but all I get is the latest Herman Cain sound bite. Wow, ANOTHER rich, Republican @$$*** dishing out pathetic bs… THAT AIN’T NEWS! Like I always say: “…responsible journalism is dead as the sperm on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress”.
    NOTE: (By the way, I see TV anchors/hosts never touched on the NEWS about Cain receiving campaign contributions prohibited by Federal regulations) Damn regulations, right?

    Concerned Citizens such as myself have more on our minds beyond which puppet candidate the Republican Party will put up against President Obama. We’ve got a political/economic system to OCCUPY! (see cyberbitchslap2.blogspot.com)

    GOD forbid we talk about the 50 MILLION Americans struggling below the poverty level… OR legislative obstructionism… OR do an investigative report on the Corporate Crime Wave that gripped this nation during the Bush/Cheney disaster…
    (ARREST George W. Bush!)

    OR Ask vital questions such as WHY are Republicans leading the charge for voter suppression, union busting, debtor’s prison and repealing CHILD LABOR laws? (REALLY?) These un-American ****’s want to get rid of an American Institution, the POST OFFICE for GOD sake…

    NOTE: (Post office motto Inscribed on post office on 33rd St. + 8th Ave, NYC:
    “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” HERODOTUS 503 BC.
    These hero’s didn’t count on a destructive force known as a lame duck Republican Congress, lol, remember 2006?)

    State and Local government Republicans are doing EVERYTHING they can to keep the PEOPLE from voting. What better definition of TRAITOR than those who would pervert the election process? The American PEOPLE need to rise up and make demands to get the money out of our politics. We MUST make demands for national voting standards that can’t be corrupted by any Party fanatics.

    I think most people on the Left are missing the big picture here. THIS ISN’T ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA doing the job of SAVING the nation by himself… THIS is about FORMING A COALITION to stop the Republican Party satan sandwich makers. (lol) Since 58.4% of the American PEOPLE didn’t vote in the last election… community voter registration workshops are a big deal, RIGHT?

    Tip O’Neil said it best “…all politics are local politics”. That’s where elections are really won, focus, involvement and energy from the grassroots. Otherwise those conservative criminals on the Supreme Court rig the game with “Citizens United”. I thought legislating from the bench is a no no procedure boy? What about Clarence Thomas and his lobbyist wife? Maybe someone should OCCUPY the Supreme Court, right?

    I think what the Obama/Biden Administration accomplished is genius. The way I see it is President Obama has given the Republican Monkeys enough rope to hang themselves with. If nothing else they’ve exposed themselves to the wrath of GOD! Anyone with half a brain tied behind their back can see the evil nature and low grade thought processes of Republicans.

    Liberals need to recognize this, SUPPORT their President and join the fight to take power away from Republicans before they completely destroy the USA. VOTING for the Democratic Party is our ONLY way to defeat these traitorous Republicans. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY at this time. Liberals must understand it’s easier to do a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party than get a Third Party candidate elected or start a revolution? (Liberals don’t have the balls for a real revolution, yet…)

    The REAL fight is right here at home.
    I’m not ashamed to say a few fanatic degenerates who perverted Islam don’t scare me near as much as those FOOLS who believe Capitalism can survive without ETHICS, RESPONSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY!

  • vaquous said:

    Hi from #Occupy Canada!!!

    We are neighbours and you probably know virtually nothing about us ..but we care about you and we appreciate all the efforts that you are making to demonstrate to the World what real DEMOCRACY should look like:0

    The Government here in Canada –headed by our Prime Minister Mr. Stephen Harper is so out of control it is not even funny:(

    New laws that will demonize and control our Youth throw incarcerations…deals with Multinational Corporations that will crush Canadian businesses large and small.

    Trade deals with China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, ..anyone who will make him some money…..No Canadian seems to be consulted in all of this???


    Arms Trade Treaty


    Keystone XL Pipeline

    Oil Sands

    226 Millions of dollars cut from the Veterans’ Affairs budget —just before REMEMBRANCE DAY 11.11.11.

    Yet, he has 28 million to commemorate the war of 1812 (Propaganda to promote more military spending in our country)

    10 Billion to open more new Prisons

    13 million to implement crime legislation OMNIBUS CRIME BILL (9 bill packaged together) —no National debate on the issue–and crime down since five years now.

    C-35 Fighter jets that NO one wants expenses in the Billions.

    CUTS TO WOMENS GROUPS THAT PROTECT THE VULNERABLE –and their children (1.5 million Canadian children live in poverty in my country —we are a population of 33 million)

    War widdows live in poverty.

    Soldiers come home and can not afford houses or apartments –many are homeless.

    Long-gun Registry scrapped and Government threatens to destroy Records for no reason –none that has been explained to the public.