Over 400 people were arrested on Saturday night in Oakland in what are saying is the largest mass arrest of protestors since the beginning to the Occupy Wall Street protests began last summer.
Largest Mass Arrest in Occupy History
Crews were seen cleaning up the mess on Sunday from Oakland’s historic City Hall where damage was sustained overnight during violent protests. At a press conference held on Sunday the police and other city officials could not say exactly how many were arrested, but Oakland’s emergency operations office estimated about 400 had been arrested. Violent confrontations between the police and protestors also led to the injuries of three officers and at least one protestor.
Police say that a group of protestors first burned an American flag outside City Hall. Then they entered the building and vandalized a vending machine, light fixtures, and an historic model of City Hall. Oakland’s 911 services were overrun during the time of the violence.
"While City Hall sustained damage, we anticipate that all city offices will be open for regular business tomorrow," said Deanna Santana, Oakland city administrator.
Police Heavy Handed?
The violence began in Oakland on Saturday afternoon when the demonstrators tried to occupy what they thought was an empty downtown convention center to be their new headquarters and also bring to the forefront the problem of homelessness. In response the police, outfitted in riot gear, arrived to drive back the crowd of about 500 protestors.
"Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares," the Oakland Police Department said in a statement. "The Oakland Police Department deployed smoke, tear gas and beanbag projectiles in response to this activity."
The mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan said a “violent splinter group” of the Occupy movement of encouraging the Saturday protests and using Oakland as its “playground.” Protestors shot back that the city overreacted with “heavy-handed” tactics.