Oakland Protesters Prepare for Second Try to Enter Building

By Laura Dixon (BCN)
Saturday January 28, 2012 - 05:40:00 PM

Around 250 to 300 Occupy Oakland protestors have gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland to rest and reorganize following a failed attempt to take over a building this afternoon. 

While the scene at the plaza is currently peaceful, organizers have announced that the group will make another attempt to occupy another building this evening, and failing that will try to retake the plaza, the site of a long-running encampment. Marchers were preparing to set out as of about 5:15 p.m. 

Police in unmarked cars are monitoring the plaza, but there are currently no uniformed officers visible in the area. At least two tents have been erected in the plaza. 

Protestors and police clashed earlier today when a crowd that police estimated at around 450 to 500 marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza and attempted to take over the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.  

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. 

Police said protestors began tearing down perimeter fences at the center around 2:30 p.m., and were ordered to disperse at 2:50 p.m. 

Officers were allegedly pelted with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares, according to police. Police said they used smoke bombs and tear gas, and protestors at the scene reported officers using batons on individuals in the crowd.  

As of around 5 p.m., 19 people had been arrested and three police officers had been injured.  

By around 4 p.m., the bulk of the group had retreated to the plaza. Police have requested mutual aid from other law enforcement agencies. 

"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."