Occupy Oakland demonstrators continue their march, other anti-Wall Street protests continue
A day after Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was critically injured in Oakland during a scuffle between anti-Wall Street protesters and police, demonstrators again took to the California city’s streets, as the Associated Press reports:
Another showdown between police and protesters in Oakland appeared to be averted late Wednesday night as several hundred filed out of a plaza declared off-limits for overnight use and marched through nearby streets.
An AP photographer on the scene said police erected barricades to prevent the marchers from reaching a freeway, sending the group down side streets en masse.
Small contingents of officers could be seen following behind but there were no signs of any confrontations or arrests. The march tapered off after about an hour, with most of the protesters apparently dispersing.
At least one tent was back up Thursday morning, along with a handful of people.
In nearby San Francisco, police disappeared from the scene of an Occupy Wall Street rally after earlier pledging to evict protesters from a plaza. Elizabeth Flock writes:
Police wielding batons and wearing helmets early this morning called in reserve units to gather near the Justin Herman Plaza, where the protesters have been camping out for the past several weeks.
But a few hours later, police disappeared, saying they had called off the raid, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. When protesters, who had been gearing up for a tense standoff, heard the news, some crawled back into their sleeping bags to sleep.
It is unclear why police called off the raid, which was prompted by the city’s Department of Public Health notice Tuesday that the camp was a health hazard, because of the presence of feces, urine and vomit throughout the camp.
Mayor Ed Lee, who is campaigning for reelection, has said the camp needs to shut down if it becomes a hazard to protesters or residents.
Back on the East Coast, the Associated Press reports that students and faculty at Washington’s Howard University were gearing up to take part in the movement:
The demonstration scheduled for Friday afternoon will include a march from the Howard campus to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Organizers say they’ve coordinated with and will be joined by protesters from two ongoing “occupations” near the White House.
Talib Karim, an alumnus of the historically black school and one of the organizers, says the march is part of an effort to bring more racial diversity to the Wall Street protests. He says the issues raised by the protesters should resonate with African-Americans, who endure poverty and unemployment in greater percentages than the general population.
The marchers will be calling on Congress to pass bills promoting job growth.
As the protests bore on, Elizabeth Flock reports that the injuries incurred by Scott Olsen on Tuesday continued to attract attention from all corners, including civil rights activists and members of law enforcement:
The incident has prompted an independent police review of the clashes, which Police Chief Howard Jordan said will determine if officers on the scene used excessive force on Olsen and others.
Olsen’s injuries have also angered Oakland protesters and civil rights activists, who dispute Oakland Police accounts that cops did not use rubber bullets or flashbangs on protesters. Many photos and videos have emerged to suggest that police did.
Oakland Police yesterday released a statement that said they cannot speak for the actions of other law enforcement agencies on the scene. Other police forces from the Bay Area and Northern California were involved.