A Day of Demonstrations: Occupy Oakland General Strike

Thursday, 9:45 a.m. For today’s updates, click here.

Thursday, 7:09 a.m. From AP this morning:

A protest that shut down the Port of Oakland to show the broadening reach of the Occupy Wall Street movement ended in violence when police in riot gear arrested dozens of protesters overnight who broke into a vacant building, shattered downtown windows, sprayed graffiti and set blazes along the way.

At least four protesters were hospitalized Thursday with various injuries, including one needing stitches after fighting with an officer, police said. Several officers were also injured but didn’t need hospitalization. Full story

The Oakland Tribune’s account here.

Yesterday’s posts

Occupy Oakland has called for a day of demonstrations and a general strike. We’re keeping up with events as they unfold. Reporters out in the field covering today’s events are also sending back photos.

Latest live-blog updates

9:48 p.m. We’re signing off for tonight, but we’ll be back in the morning with the latest developments on the status of Occupy Oakland.

Of the thousands that demonstrated for a general strike on The Port of Oakland, at this hour only about 150 remain, reports Sean Maher of The Oakland Tribune. About 50 port workers are still trying to get out and go home, he says.

For those who remain or are headed back to Frank Ogawa Plaza, reporter Emily Loftis tweets that AC Transit is offering a free ride back.

If you’re staying up late tonight, you can follow these folks on Twitter using this master feed that KQED’s social media guru Ian HIll has put together from local news organizations following events moment-to-moment. Or keep up by following our blog updates below.

And here’s a general Twitter feed:

Live stream from Occupy Oakland:

9:01 p.m. Even though some are staying at the port, it seems that many are heading back to Frank Ogawa Plaza. Oakland Tribune photographer and multimedia producer Jane Tyska captures a moment of people celebrating at what many see as the successful closure of the port.

Meanwhile in the downtown area, two pedestrians were struck by a car in the intersection of 11th Street and Broadway Avenue, The Oakland Tribune’s Martin Reynolds reports. ABC affiliate KGO TV adds that one protestor “slapped” the car before being hit.

8:39 p.m. There seems to be confusion among demonstrators gathered about whether the port was officially closed. Oakland North tweets that people initially cheered at an announcement the port was closed. KCBS reporter Doug Sovern tweets that police officers have left Maritime and West Grand Ave. Gavin Aaronson tweets that some protestors plan to stay at the port to block the morning shift.

8:30 p.m. Mother Jones’ Gavin Aaronson gives insight as to why some longshoremen showed up for work this evening. He tweets a message from the union spokesman “workers got a dispatch call to come to the port at 7pm but couldn’t get in. The next shift is 7am.”

8:00 p.m. Reporters on the ground say the mood at the port is “festive,” and that a group of about 100 people are leaving to go home.

KGO Radio reporter Kristin Hanes tweets that the longshoremen’s union called off the 7:00 p.m. shift at the port this evening, affecting about 200 workers.

7:30 p.m. Our Kelly Wilkinson is still with the marchers at the port, and updates with Cy Musiker again, noting people are prepared to stay, for awhile, at least. Listen here:

7:19 p.m. KQED’s Kelly Wilkinson is at the port and tells us that people are hanging out. A group that she is near just voted to keep truckers from entering the port, but allow workers who just ended their shift to leave and go home.

Mother Jones editorial fellow Gavin Aronson also says the atmosphere is “relaxed,” “But a woman speaking through a bullhorn has just starting calling for a picket line.”

7:09 p.m. Earlier this evening, Mayor Jean Quan and other city officials held a press conference. ABC’s local affiliate KGO posted the news conference:

7:00 p.m. Our Kelly Wilkinson is with the marchers at the port, and speaks with Cy Musiker to update the situation on the ground. Listen here:

Police line up near the Port Oakland, about 6:45 p.m. Photo: Demian Bulwa/San Francisco Chronicle

6:45 p.m. The first few reports of police at the port are trickling in. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Demian Bulwa tweets this photo of a line of officers at the port.

6:30 p.m. The Port of Oakland issued this statement (PDF) on their website about 15 minutes ago. It reads in part:

At this time maritime operations are effectively shut down at the Port of Oakland. Maritime area operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so.

Safety, security, respect and dignity for everyone remain of paramount importance. We continue to ask that everyone remain calm, respectful, and safe.

Specifically, we ask that the marchers allow port workers safe passage home. Please allow your fellow 99% to get home safe to their families.

The Port of Oakland is an economic engine: Through our activities and those of our tenants and customers we support over 73,000 jobs in our region and are connected to more than 800,000 jobs nationwide. These are jobs for the 99%.

The port also tweeted “Some marchers climbing on structures at Port. We take safety seriously for all. Keep protests to the road to avoid accidents. Thank you.”

6:19 p.m. Our Kelly Wilkinson says there are still more people coming toward the port. There are also people playing musical instruments, she says. Oakland North tweets this photo of Sistah Boom, making music and marching.

Thousands at the port already. Thousands more #occupyoakland ... on Twitpic

6:00 p.m. From the twitter-sphere, people continue to march toward the port. Joshua Holland, reporter from Alternet, tweets, “people streaming in literally stretch as far as the eye can see.” Oakland North reporters tweet photos, saying that thousands are already there, and thousands more are on their way.

KQED’s Kelly Wilkinson confirms that the second mass of marchers has arrived at the report and is as large or larger than the first group.

5:30 p.m. KQED’s Catilin Esch attended a press conference with the Port of Oakland’s Executive Director this afternoon, and she reports that marine operations have been shut down.

Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan stated at a press conference that the total for today’s crowd numbered at about 4,500, with an estimated 3,000 at the port.

#occupyoakland protesters taken over semi trucks parked on si... on Twitpic

5:24 p.m. Oakland North reporters tweet this photo (right) of demonstrators “occupying” a truck at the port. Our Kelly Wilkinson says people are chanting the familiar “we are the 99 percent,” while some are trying to direct incoming marchers to different entrances to the port.

5:19 p.m. KQED’s Kelly Wilkinson is on the ground and says that truckers are honking their horns, presumably in support of the march. She says people are splitting into groups of about 2,000, stationed at each entrance. Reporter Emily Loftis tweets a similar account.

Wilkinson hasn’t seen any uniformed police from her location.

5:00 p.m. The ABC affiliate TV station, KGO, reports that the crowd marching toward the port is estimated between 5,000 and 10,000. Their live aerial video feed is currently showing the large crowd.

The Oakland Tribune’s Josh Richman is covering the protest and tweets this photo of the march, on 14th street between Clay and Jefferson, near the I-980 overpass.

Reporters from the hyper-local news site Oakland North tweets, “the air is filled with car horns, the smell of sage, and legions of brightly colored signs.”

4:30 p.m. The march to the Port of Oakland is underway. Buses are shuttling demonstrators that need assistance to the port. ABC has live aerial coverage online.

3:50 p.m. KQED’s Caitlin Esch talked to a witness who says about 15-20 minutes ago a handful of protesters broke off from the main group of marchers and started arguing with a Wells Fargo security guard. Before a physical confrontation could occur, one of the protesters smashed a Wells Fargo sign, and then others smashed multiple windows in the building, which is actually the headquarters of Clorox.

There is glass everywhere now, Esch reports, and window blinds have been pulled out. A spray-painted anarchist symbol covers the Wells Fargo sign. There are also a few drops of blood on the pavement.

(Photo: Caitlin Esch/KQED)

More photos

The vandals were wearing bandanas and masks, the witness says.

3:35 p.m. Wells Fargo spokesperson Holly Rockwell says a second office at 2040 Franklin was closed mid-afternoon. There was no information whether employees were sent home or to work at other branches.

3:30 p.m. Whole Foods has tweeted multiple messages about the incident at its store. “no one is losing jobs for #generalstrike,” reads one message. “We even offered to help cover shifts for people who wished to go.”

3:00 p.m. Our reporter Andrew Stelzer says he saw a group of about 150 black-clad protesters among a mainstream contingent of marchers, on their way to the Whole Foods. One or two from this group smashed windows of a Chase bank and another bank. The individual who smashed the window of the second bank was then tackled by someone else in the crowd.

When the group dressed in black reached Whole Foods, they spray-painted windows, and then, apparently, through tables through them.

Andrew Stelzer says there have been skirmishes between the black clad demonstrators and the other protesters. Many people are trying to grab anyone they see committing acts of property destruction, he says.

Several windows have also been smashed at a Bank of America, Stelzer reports.

2:43 p.m. KQED’s Wendy Goodfriend reports that protesters have smashed the front windows at Whole Foods on 27th Street and Harrison Street by throwing tables into them.

There has been a Twitter rumor going around that Whole Foods announced it would discipline employees who took part in the strike. Earlier in the day, our intern Reena Flores talked to a Whole Foods spokesperson in Austin, Texas, who said it was a “crazy, out of control rumor. In fact, our store team leaders talked to our stores in Oakland and Berkeley and said they support their right to do this.”

More here

Twitter news feed

Right now the most thorough coverage is happening through Twitter. Check out this master feed that KQED’s social media guru Ian HIll has put together from local news organizations following events moment-to-moment. Or keep up by following our blog updates below.

And here’s a general Twitter feed:

 

Live stream from Occupy Oakland:

 

 

Updates

3:30 p.m. Whole Foods is tweeting

3:00 p.m. Our reporter Andrew Stelzer says he saw a group of about 150 black-clad protesters among a mainstream contingent of marchers, on their way to the Whole Foods. One or two from this group smashed windows of a Chase bank and another bank. The individual who smashed the window of the second bank was then tackled by someone else in the crowd.

When the group dressed in black reached Whole Foods, they spray-painted windows, and then, apparently, through tables through them.

Andrew Stelzer says there have been skirmishes between the black clad demonstrators and the other protesters. Many people are trying to grab anyone they see committing acts of property destruction, he says.

Several windows have also been smashed at a Bank of America, Stelzer reports.

2:43 p.m. KQED’s Wendy Goodfriend reports that protesters have smashed the front windows at Whole Foods on 27th Street and Harrison Street by throwing tables into them.

There has been a Twitter rumor going around that Whole Foods announced it would discipline employees who took part in the strike. Earlier in the day, our intern Reena Flores talked to a Whole Foods spokesperson in Austin, Texas, who said it was a “crazy, out of control rumor. In fact, our store team leaders talked to our stores in Oakland and Berkeley and said they support their right to do this.”

2:35 p.m. Wall Street Journal headline: Call for General Strike in Oakland Fizzles

The Occupy Oakland protesters’ call for a general strike Wednesday largely fizzled as organizers failed to rally significant support from unions, causing only minor disruption to businesses and schools.

Occupy Oakland, the West Coast’s most volatile branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement, said on its website that it was “asking all workers go on strike, call a vacation day or simply walk off the job.” Last week, demonstrators and police in Oakland clashed in violent skirmishes that caught international attention.

But calm reigned here Wednesday, raising questions about the breadth of the movement’s support.

To read more than that, you have to subscribe.

2:15 p.m. Time out for mockery. Colbert has his way with a couple of Occupy Wall Street protesters.

1:50 p.m. KCRA reports that “several carloads” of Occupy Sacramento protesters are headed for Oakland.

1:44 p.m. Video: Flash mob performs “I Will Survive,” the anthem of choice for any world-changing political movement:

 

1:10 p.m. From SFist: Oakland Businesses Go ‘Cash-Only’ In Support of General Strike

1:03 p.m. The city held a briefing about a half hour ago. From our reporter Peter Jon Shuler:

Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan says the dept is keeping police presence minimal, just to facilitate the right to assemble – that will continue as long as the crowd remains peaceful. The chief also says no arrests so far but is concerned a small group is looking to force confrontation with police. He’s calling on peaceful protesters to help quell those people. Police estimate about 1,000 protesters total.

City manager Deanna Santana said about 200 city employees are participating in the strike, and that fifteen of 17 head start centers are closed as a result. No impact on other city services.

Mayor Quan says downtown merchants have taken a beating. No estimate yet on total lost sales but she encouraged everybody to “shop Oakland.”

12:45 p.m. KQED News intern Don Clyde spoke to Troy Flint, spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District, about teacher participation in the strike today. Flint said more than 300 teachers are out today, possibly as many as 360. “We’re still trying to collect the precise information from all the different school sites. That’ll be an ongoing process throughout the day,” Flint said.

Flint said that on a typical Wednesday, there might be 25 requests to stay out in various leave categories, including sick time.

“Because of the short timeline, we definitely had to scramble to make sure we had subs and to send administrators who are credentialed out from central office,” Flint said. “So that there’s supervision and instruction in every classroom.

“But we actually feel it’s worth it. We partnered with the Oakland Education Association and our other unions to make sure that those teachers who followed our protocol could participate. That protocol involved submitting their leave request by close of business on Monday October 31, and to see that we were able to promise a sub for their classroom… We recognize that public services, particularly those devoted to education, have been criminally underfunded. We are in the mix of some of the deepest, really unprecedented cuts to public education that have greatly harmed kids and jeopardized the future of this state, and we’re seeing this on a national level as well. So we tried to accommodate the request and the support of the ideal that public education is a civic right, while at the same time providing parents and families and students with a safe, secure place during the school day and an opportunity to receive instruction.”

12:33 p.m. Joshua Johnson received another update from Google on the back-and-forth renaming of Frank Ogawa Plaza as “Oscar Grant Plaza” on Google Maps. The change was made late yesterday evening, according to Google. A spokesperson said:

Uses are able to make contributions or edits to the map via our participatory mapping tool, Google Map Maker. Users must be signed into their Google account to make a contribution on Map Maker, and changes must be approved before they’re reflected in Google Maps. Most contributions are reviewed by fellow mapping volunteers in the Map Maker community, but we also have a small team of Google reviewers across the globe that may review and moderate updates in Map Maker as well. And of course, we take a look at all abuse reports and edits that are brought to our attention for further review. Overall, we believe that the knowledge of participatory mappers in the U.S. expands the depth and breadth of coverage in Google Maps, and dramatically speeds up the time it takes for online maps to reflect the often-changing physical world.

As you’ve noted in your most recent story update, this area is generating a lot of interest. Google reviewers will work to ensure that the name of the plaza is an accurate representation of reality — reflecting its official, government name, but remaining searchable via the name adopted by people on the ground.

12:10 p.m. Don Clyde spoke to Wells Fargo spokesperson Holly Rockwood. She said of the nine branches in Oakland, as of 11:30 am only the 1221 Broadway branch (closest to Frank Ogawa Plaza) has been closed. That branch has 14 employees, and Rockwell said all of them were directed to work at other branches.

When asked whether Wells Fargo expects to close other branches in Oakland, Rockwood said, “We are actively monitoring the situation. Obviously safety is our #1 priority.”

12:05 p.m. Statement from the Port of Oakland:

Safety is the #1 priority at the Port of Oakland, and we ask that everyone approach today with calm and respect. The Port of Oakland is open. This includes the Port’s headquarters building, Oakland International Airport, Jack London Square, and the seaport, including ferry service.

At the seaport, marine terminals are generally operating, although the situation is fluid. Each of our the Port’s terminals operates independently, and Port staff are in close touch with terminal operators, shipping companies, and other tenants.

We will be providing periodic updates throughout the day.

You can also keep abreast of information throughout the day via the Port’s Twitter (portofoakland) and Facebook pages as well as the Port’s homepage: www.portofoakland.com.

11:45 a.m. Bank protest update:

 

11:20 a.m. Occupy Oakland photos from our staff and the public…

11:11 a.m. Mayor Jean Quan’s statement:

Like many Oaklanders, I support the goals of those protesting on behalf of the 99% today. Police Chief Jordan and I are dedicated to respecting the right of every demonstrator to peacefully assemble, but it is our duty to prioritize public safety.

Many Oaklanders will not be participating in today’s events, even if they may support the overall goals of those demonstrating. We must make sure that those who have to go to work and keep their businesses open are able to do so. We have spent the week collaborating with the Port, county, school district officials as well as clergy, business, community and activity groups to ensure that the day goes smoothly.

11:10 a.m. From the Oakland Trib live blog:

[Oakland City Council President Larry] Reid said he’s gotten numerous calls from frustrated small business owners since the Occupy Oakland encampment set up shop in early October, who are contemplating leaving the city.

“These are folks who don’t want to expose their employees to potential danger,” Reid said. “They went through the Oscar Grant murder riots, and a lot of folks are fed up. They’re trying to get out of their lease agreements.”

Reid said he strongly supports the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement, “but I don’t like the method. This is a blue collar town, and if the city is going to get on sound footing, we have to attract jobs.”

11:08 a.m. KGO has live video from its overhead camera.

10:38 a.m. From Oakland Local: General Strike Event Guide

10:33 a.m. From the Chronicle today: BART protesters quickly cancel Oakland action (SF Chronicle)

A group that has demonstrated against BART since the New Year’s Day 2009 killing of Oscar Grant by a transit agency police officer abruptly canceled plans today for protesters to “occupy” two downtown Oakland stations Wednesday morning during the heart of the commute.

The group, No Justice No BART, said it was concerned that the proposed action at the 12th Street and 19th Street stations could hinder people from using BART to participate in a citywide general strike planned by Occupy Oakland protesters.

10:25 a.m. Joshua Johnson heard back from a Google spokesperson regarding Google Maps showing Frank Ogawa Plaza as “Oscar Grant Plaza” for a time this morning. She wrote in an email:

The location previously labeled as “Oscar Grant Plaza” in Google Maps has now been re-labeled with its official name “Frank Ogawa Plaza,” but can continue to be found via searches for both names. We’re committed to providing our users with the richest, most up-to-date maps possible, and as part of that effort we continuously explore ways to integrate new information. We’ve built our map from a wide range of authoritative sources, ranging from the public and commercial data providers, imagery references, and user contributions. Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map, but maps are constantly changing along with the real world, so we’ll continue to review data and make changes as new information becomes available.

In this case, a user-submitted edit to the official name of the plaza went live in Google Maps, when it should only have been made a search reference.

10:15 a.m. KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler reports on Jean Quan and Howard Jordan’s press briefing this morning:

Jean Quan said she was hoping to have a boring day. She said that Oakland is a progressive city and she’s sympathetic with the messages of the demonstrators, in particular the fear of foreclosure and the plight of people who have been foreclosed on. She said she’s interested in balancing free speech and public safety. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said he anticipated a peaceful day but in the event of any unlawful activity police are prepared to act.

The crowd is massed at the intersection of 14th and Broadway. Hundreds of people, possibly a thousand, have taken the intersection and are preparing to march.

9:54 a.m. Google Maps, which earlier had shown Frank Ogawa Plaza as “Oscar Grant Plaza,” is back to showing the area by its official name. Still no word from Google on what’s up…

9:26 a.m. ILWU Communications Director Craig Merrilees told KQED’s Julia McEvoy says the report of the Port of Oakland being shut down is “completely false.” He said, “it’s business as usual. A few dozen may not be coming today, but that’s compared to over 300. The port is not closed people, people are coming to work.”

9:23 a.m. From the Oakland Tribune live blog at 8:59 a.m.:

“Word is spreading that the longshoremen have short-staffed the early shift, and the Port of Oakland is shut down.”

 

KQED’s Ian Hill has curated some tweets and other web content around today’s action:

Related

  • erik27

    What has the police response been to the acts of violence and vandalism? Is it being tolerated, reported as usual, or are the police who were earlier reported to be sighted in vans parallel to the march responding?

    Violence and crime should not be tolerated nor should it be assumed that anyone in the march is responsible for keeping others from acts of violence. Hopefully if needed, witnesses will step forward to name names and show that violence has no part in the #occupy movement.

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