A march to take over a vacant building by members of the Occupy movement in Oakland, Calif., turned into a violent confrontation with the police on Saturday, leaving three officers injured and about 200 people arrested.
The clashes began just before 3 p.m. when protesters marched toward the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, the police said, and began to tear down construction barricades. Officers ordered the crowd to disperse when protesters “began destroying construction equipment and fencing,” the Oakland police said in a press release.
“Officers were pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares, the police said.” Officers responded with smoke, tear gas and beanbag projectiles. Twenty people were arrested.
Most of the arrests occurred in the evening, when large groups of people were corralled in front of the Downtown Oakland Y.M.C.A. on Broadway. At one point, one group of protesters broke into the City Hall building.
On a livestream broadcast on the Web site oakfosho.com, dozens of protesters could be seen sitting cross-legged in darkness on the street in front of the Y.M.C.A. Their hands appeared to be bound behind them, while police officers stood watch. Occasionally the protesters sang or cheered.
The events were part of a demonstration dubbed “Move-in Day,” a plan by protesters to move into the vacant convention center and use it as a commune-like command center, according to the Web site occupyoaklandmoveinday.org.
“We were going to set up a community center,” said Benjamin Phillips, 32, a member of the Occupy Oakland media team. “It would be a place where we could house people, feed people, do all the things that we have been doing.”
In an open letter to Mayor Jean Quan on the Move-in Day site, the group threatened actions like “blockading the airport indefinitely, occupying City Hall indefinitely” and “shutting down the Oakland ports.” Occupy protesters did briefly shut down the city’s busy port in November.