OAKLAND, Calif. (October 25, 2011) — Police in riot gear cleared anti-Wall Street protesters on Tuesday morning from the plaza in front of Oakland's City Hall where they have been camped out for about two weeks, prompting city leaders to advise downtown businesses to delay opening and city employees to come in late.
Television news footage showed numerous people in plastic handcuffs being led away from the site by police around 5 a.m. The protesters did not appear to be resisting, although an officer did fire a non-lethal projectile from a shotgun at a protester who lobbed a bottle.
One of those arrested, Aiyahnna Johnson, 30, of Oakland, had been living at the camp with her 2-year-old daughter.
The police action began around 4:40 a.m. when an officer on a loud speaker told the protesters they were illegally blocking the plaza and were subject to arrest. Several hundred people appeared ready to defend the camp about an hour before police moved in, placing Dumpsters, boards, pallets and even metal police-style barricades around the plaza.
Anthony Owens, 40, of Oakland, said some people in the camp left as word spread about possible police action. A core group of about 150 people locked arms and shouted as officers moved in from four corners, Owens said.
Witnesses reported seeing smoke rising from the area. The plaza was "contained" around 5:30 a.m., according to city officials, although tents and trash remained strewn there. It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested.
OCCUPY WALL STREET! Boycott the bailed out banks! Let your elected officials know your displeasure, and send them a message from the ballot box!