In signing off from our day-long coverage of the General Strike Day in Oakland yesterday, we noted the "younger and more aggressive crowds" heading into the streets just before 10 p.m. And, perhaps predictably though not with the blessing of the largely peaceful and non-destructive Occupy movement the situation turned ridiculous and anarchic in the late-night hours, around 11 p.m., when a small faction occupied a vacant building at 16th and Broadway, hoisted an "Occupy Everything" banner onto its windows, and set fire to a large pile of trash in the street outside, sending flames fifteen feet in the air, as the Chron reports. Though riot police kept their distance, fearing more bad press, they moved right on in with the tear gas and flash bombs after one cop was hit in his face mask with a bottle.
As Oakland North reports, the OPD put out a press release at 10:30 p.m. identifying a "small group of anarchists" working their way through the crowd, and stating, "OPD is focused on preventing illegal activity while affording the majority their rights to assemble and march."
In one photo, one such demonstrator/anarchist holds a sign that says "Occupy the Building - No Surrender."
In the end, with about 500 people in the street and what police saw as a public safety hazard (the large fire, and anarchists breaking up cinder blocks into smaller chunks to use as projectiles), they moved in and ordered everyone to disperse. Many didn't, and after a long standoff with police, about a dozen people were arrested at 1:30 a.m. near San Pablo and 16th Street. Cops noted that they had been attacked with thrown hammers, rocks, bottles, and metal pipes. "This begged action," says Sgt. Chris Bolton, chief of staff to interim Chief Howard Jordan. "We [reacted] to the situation provided to us."
We're sure the Occupy folks are going to issue a statement in response, likely distancing themselves from the opportunistic anarchy we all wished wouldn't happen.