Hundreds of police gathered at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland at around 3 a.m. on Tuesday and in two-and-a-half hours, the two-week old tent city was gone. "Police are telling the protesters via bullhorn that 'chemical agents' will be used and are repeating that they are illegally camped," reported the San Jose's Mercury News this morning around 5 a.m. PST. "Police tore down tents and wooden stalls that had housed medical aid and food. Garbage cans are overturned. Some police have shotguns and all have clubs out." Mercury News confirms the number of police to be around 200 and that arrests have been made. Riot gear? Shotguns? It seems a little harsh to get rid of a demonstration with a designated "children's village."
Update (10:26 a.m. EDT): Police used lots of non-lethal force methods during the eviction. Reports on Twitter estimated about 500 cops showed up to carry out the eviction, and according to tweets and news reports, they used all the tools at their disposal including flash grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas, on the denizens of roughly 100 tents downtown. They're reportedly now evicting another camp at the smaller Snow Park. It was a chaotic scene and Occupy Oakland's Twitter stream reports 70 arrested.
This video from the scene reportedly shows teargas billowing through the street downtown (it's long and blurry so just skip to 17:30 for the exciting part).
Twitter was flooded with reports of a long-range acoustic device, known as an LRAD, which uses loud noises as a form of non-lethal crowd control. We didn't see a picture of it, but the source of the report appears to be the Occupy Oakland live feed, which is now showing police milling about in the now-empty Frank Ogawa Plaza downtown. A news report from last year confirms the Oakland department has such a device.
The Chronicle confirmed the police had used rubber bullets on a protester who threw a bottle and flash-bang grenades as somebody threw a smoke bomb at the officers. A Twitter user named OakFoSho posted this photo of the police backing away from the smoke bomb:
But not all the techniques required high-tech non-lethal force. Many on Twitter have passed around this photo of an officer subduing a protester the old-fashioned way:
But in spite of the chaos some kept their spirits up. According to Occupy Oakland's twitter stream, their in-house marching band wouldn't stop playing throughout the clash.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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