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Protesters briefly clash with police as May Day marches continue through Oakland

on May 1, 2012

A guitar player participates in the May Day protest.

Oakland Police officers and protesters faced off in the downtown street Tuesday afternoon, as police fired tear gas canisters and using flash bang grenades to disperse protesters from the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway at about 12:15 pm today.

At least one person has been arrested, according to OPD spokesperson Officer Johnna Watson.

Protesters have been marching throughout downtown this morning as part of a May Day general strike organized by Occupy Oakland activists. This morning, protesters began gathering at three main sites—Frank Ogawa Plaza, Snow Park near Lake Merritt, Child Protective Services at 4th and Broadway—and several marches began after 9 am.

A few of the marches converged at Broadway and 14th Street at about 10:30, and a group of several hundred began marching north. Someone spray-painted “solidarity with workers” on the Bank of West building at Broadway and 22nd Street, and police dressed in riot gear surrounded the bank and blocked protesters from entering the building.

“The main reason to be here is protest against police brutality,” said a man who would only identify himself as Alex as the crowd marched down Broadway.

Hip hop performance at the May Day protest.

The crowd turned on Harrison at Grand Avenue and marched towards a Bank of America building, where they faced off with police guarding the building, and then to the Chase bank, with police walking next to the group.

The crowd then marched to the intersection in front of Frank Ogawa Plaza, where they were ordered to disperse by police. Three loud bursts of sound from the flashbang grenades followed, and tear gas filled the air. Some in the crowd fled to the steps of Frank Ogawa Plaza, while others remained in the street. Some of the people rested, taking naps, eating lunch on the grass or listening to a hip-hop performance or the  people on the steps of City Hall making speeches about the future of Occupy.

As of 1:30 pm, Broadway was closed by police between 13th and 15th Streets.

The crowd in the plaza was growing as of 1:45 pm, with a group dressed in black sweatshirts, black masks on their faces and carrying trashcans as shields, lining up in front of California Highway Patrol officers on the stops of City Hall.

Oakland North will continue to follow this story. You can read our complete past coverage of Occupy Oakland here.

Reporting by Ryan Phillips, Wendi Jonassen, and Thomas Kleinveld.


  1. tangie on May 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    To the protesters I was behind you 100% at first but now I am against you. I can’t endorse the destroying of people’s businesses, I wish you all would go away all you do is make inconvenient for people comming home from work by blocking the streets. Your cause is lost due to the violence you are committing. go away!

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