Oakland's police chief warns the city will not tolerate repeat protests
Occupy Oakland committee vows 'militant action' against authorities
The demonstration follows mass arrests stemming from clashes with police
A week after the mass arrests of Occupy Oakland demonstrators following clashes with police, a more muted protest played out Saturday in the northern California city.
Despite a call by a small faction of the Occupy Oakland group to conduct “militant action” against authorities, there was no repeat of last week’s violence where protesters threw bottles and tossed pipes at police, who responded with tear gas, smoke grenades and bean bag bullets.
Authorities arrested more than 400 people in that incident.
The Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee called last week’s police response “police repression” and vowed to conduct “militant action.”
“If you identify as peaceful and are likely to interfere with the actions of your fellow protesters in any way (including telling them to stop performing a particular action, grappling, assaulting or holding them for arrest), you may not want to attend this march,” the committee warned in a statement on its website.
“It is a militant action. It attracts anti-capitalists, anti-fascists and other comrades of a revolutionary bent. It is not a march intended for people who are not fully comfortable with diversity of tactics.”
But Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan warned the city would not tolerate a repeat and said officers would arrest anyone “who engages in criminal activity or assaults against officers or community members.”
“This type of destructive and aggressive behavior is not welcome in our city,” Jordan said.
By nightfall Saturday, about 150 protesters – many dressed in black and some with their faces covered – marched from a park outside Oakland’s City Hall to the police department. Police maintained a large presence along the route.
Last week’s mass arrests, described by Oakland police as the largest in city history, came after protesters tried to take over a long-vacant auditorium to use as its hub.
When police blocked the group, clashes ensued.
Occupy Oakland is part of a larger movement that began last year on New York’s Wall Street and quickly spread across the globe.
While the protesters have highlighted a number of causes, the overarching theme remained the same: populist anger over what activists portray as an out-of-touch corporate, financial and political elite.
Oakland has been a flash point of the Occupy movement since October when police used tear gas to break up demonstrators who refused to leave downtown.
One demonstrator, an Iraq war veteran, suffered a skull fracture after being hit with a police projectile, according to a veteran’s group. Police said they acted after the crowd threw paint and other objects at officers.
The Oakland march Saturday followed a move hours earlier by U.S. Park Police in Washington to close an Occupy DC camp at McPherson Square.
Park police in riot gear first entered at dawn Saturday, and said they were not there to evict protesters, but to check for compliance with “no camping” laws.
Still, at one point, there was a confrontation between protesters and riot police. At least eight people were arrested.
The move comes after a federal judge Tuesday rejected an Occupy DC request to keep park police from enforcing a ban on camping in McPherson park and nearby Freedom Plaza.
Living in a public park as a means of protest is not protected by the First Amendment, Judge James Boasberg ruled.
CNN’s Maria P. White and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.