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It got ugly at Occupy Oakland last night as protesters battled police while trying to take back the plaza they were evicted from Tuesday morning. When the tear gas and percussion grenades come out, things usually don’t go very well.
Yesterday morning, police used smoke grenades to remove protesters from Frank Ogawa Plaza, or Oscar Grant Plaza as they’ve dubbed it. According to the authorities, “sanitary and public safety concerns” led to the demonstration being uprooted from its home. During the scene, at least 75 people were arrested, while three claimed to have been injured.
Occupy Oakland is one of the largest movements in the country, so police knew the eviction wouldn't go smoothly. Yesterday afternoon, roughly 1,000 protesters gathered outside of the public library and marched back to the plaza. Police were waiting for them, and threatened protesters with arrest unless they left the area. During the apocalyptic scene, 500 people were tear-gassed and the arrest total broke 100.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, interim police chief Howard Jordan defended the use of tear gas, saying police “were in a position where we had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks.” Jordan also claimed that demonstrators threw paint “and other agents” at officers. He added that when the crowd reached its peak, police used bean bag rounds to make them scatter, not rubber bullets. Protesters, however, say otherwise.