Around 5:00 p.m. PST Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan and her fellow officials held a press conference.They said that the city had sustained minimal damage during the day’s protest, but that the police were calling in reinforcements from other cities anyway. She also said that the crowds preparing to march on the Port of Oakland were peaceful.
Most importantly, she said there were only around 4,500 marchers. According to pictures, and reports from other media outlets, to us, that estimate seems low.
From here in New York, we at Business Insider watched the protests escalate from a peaceful demonstration, to a powerful show of frustration from police, occupiers, and Oakland residents. There were fires, there was tear gas, and there were people who got very badly hurt. You can see it all in these photos from the Associated Press.
Last night the Occupation showed that it is a force to be reckoned with. That, if it so desires, it can put enough people on the street to cause chaos. Bodies, after all, are power. But that power comes at a cost, not just to the city of Oakland, but to the public’s perception of the occupation.
Listen: stay peaceful.
But we, and other media outlets, and the protesters, think there easily could have been double that number.
Banks closed and employees went home. At one point there was a rumour that Whole Foods was firing their employees for protesting, and the store was attacked.
The police didn't have the numbers they needed to handle all of this. By afternoon, they were calling for reinforcements from other cities.
And that was all before the protesters finished their march to the Port of Oakland, the 5th largest port in the U.S.
When night fell things started getting wilder, and the police started trying to calm the protesters.
Protesters were lighting bonfires and there are reports alleging that the police used flash-bang devices.
The most horrible incident of all is captured right here. A car stuck in traffic revved up and hit two protesters. The rest of the crowd charged on it and held it until police came.
We assume the driver was frustrated with waiting. According to reports, the driver tried to switch seats with the passenger before police came. Maybe he was drunk. Disgusting.
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