The symbol of freedom that has been paraded by the Americans for over 200 years is now being burned at their own hands. The protesters in Occupy Oakland lost all respect for their country and burned a American flag that they found inside Oakland City Hall.
Dozens of police maintained a late-night guard around City Hall following daylong protests that resulted in 300 arrests. Occupy Oakland demonstrators broke into the historic building and burned a U.S. flag, as officers earlier fired tear gas to disperse people throwing rocks and tearing down fencing at a convention center.
Saturday’s protests — the most turbulent since Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment in November — came just days after the group said it planned to use a vacant building as a social center and political hub and threatened to try to shut down the port, occupy the airport and take over City Hall.
Protesters clashed with police throughout the day, at times throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at officers. And police responded by deploying smoke, tear gas and bean bag rounds, City Administrator Deanna Santanta said.
Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said about 300 arrests were made.
“These demonstrators stated their intention was to provoke officers and engage in illegal activity and that’s exactly what has occurred today,” Santana said.
The number of demonstrators swelled as the day wore on, with afternoon estimates ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 people.
In Oakland, the police department received heavy criticism for using force to break up earlier protests. Quan was among the critics, but on Saturday, she seemed to have changed her tune.
“Our officers have been very measured,” Quan said. “Were there some mistakes made? There may be. I would say the Oakland police and our allies, so far a small percentage of mistakes. “But quite frankly, a majority of protesters who were charging the police were clearly not being peaceful.
Quan added, “If the demonstrators think that because we are working more closely with the monitor now that we won’t do what we have to do to uphold the law and try keep people safe in this city, they’re wrong.”