Flash: Occupy Oakland Protest: Police Tear Gas, Threaten to Forcibly Remove Protesters

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 03:32:00 PM

Police tear gassed Occupy Oakland protesters this afternoon near Lake Merritt and warned them to leave an area where they had gathered or they would be forcibly removed.  

At about 3:45 p.m., the crowd still had not dispersed around the intersection of Jackson Street and 12th Street. 

Police declared the intersection an unlawful assembly area and began running toward protesters with their shields.  

Occupy Oakland organizers rallied at Frank Ogawa Plaza before they began marching earlier this afternoon. During the rally one of the organizers, Shake Anderson, said, "We are here to protect each other and to be civil disobedient. ... We're doing it to change the world, not just today but every day." 

The march started just after 1:30 p.m., with dozens of police nearby in riot gear.  

The protesters headed toward Laney College. Some people were wearing bandanas over their mouths and others were holding signs saying, "We are the 99%." A marching band dressed in pink and black tutus and neon pick tights also was in the crowd. 

Occupy organizers said the plan today was to go to a vacant building that was to be their new home. Once they reach their destination, organizers had planned to kick off a two-day "Oakland Rise-up Festival" to celebrate the establishment of the movement's new space. 

"Clearly there were some tactical mistakes today," said Sean Gallagher, 23, who was among those in the crowd. ... I think the goal of today to occupy a building was to give offices to working class people to organize." 

Police are advising motorists that they have closed streets in the area.