#OccupyOakland at odds with ‘black bloc’

by allthingsace

Oakland took the center stage last Wednesday when their general strike drew a stunning number of participants/marchers, including an anarchist group.

#OccupyOakland’s general strike remained peaceful throughout the day except for a group of vandals who took the opportunity to vandalize bank buildings and the local Whole Foods.

Few in the Occupy camp spoke in favor of the contingent of violent protesters, who use what are often referred to as “black bloc” tactics and have been a source of debate in the Bay Area activist community for years.

Additionally, over-zealous behavior continued into the night when a contingent of protestors occupied a vacant building at 16th and Broadway, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Before long police closed in on the building, using the vandalism from earlier in the day as reason to suspect that the protestors may try to burn the building down. The scene quickly unraveled into an all-out brawl.
Just after midnight, police ordered the crowd to disperse. Soon, one officer on Broadway was struck on his face shield by a bottle. Within a minute, officers launched flash-bang grenades and tear-gas canisters. Protesters scattered and a fire crew put out the blaze.
Despite the uproar, #OccupyOakland took home a victory by successfully closing the Port of Oakland.The night carried on into Thursday morning and ended with over 100 arrests.

The infiltration of masked vandals into the #Occupy movement is a reminder to stay informed about the movement. Some protestors believe this group is distorting the already controversial nature of the group and have met with officials to try and keep their record clean.

Varucha Peller, who identified herself as a member of Occupy Oakland’s media committee, said at an afternoon news conference she thought the protests that drew 7,000 people to the streets and shut down the Port of Oakland had been a huge success. The media were wrong to focus on the rampant vandalism and spasms of violence that led to more than 100 arrests, she said.

Read more by The Associated Press.