The latest turn in the Occupy Oakland movement has left protesters divided over the future of the movement — and whether peace can continue to prevail.
On Wednesday night, demonstrators stormed the streets of Downtown Oakland and overtook an abandoned building, throwing chunks of concrete and using homemade bomb launchers to fire M80s at police. "They don't speak for the majority of people who were here yesterday," said college student Hadas Alterman, to the Associated Press. "That was an hour of action, and we were out here for 12 hours and it was peaceful." It was the second clash in just over one week, the first resulting after police in riot gear fired tear gas into crowds of protesters.
More than 80 people were arrested in Wednesday night’s riot, which came just hours after nearly 4,500 people gathered peacefully in a strike that shut down the city’s port and forced several banks to close for the day — a significant victory, as viewed by demonstrators in Oakland and other cities.
Protesters like Alterman have spoken out against the violent backlash against police, fearing that fiery, chaotic images will detract from Occupy Wall Street’s overall message against corporate greed. But, in other cities, some demonstrators say the violence brings necessary attention to the cause.
Occupy Denver protester Dwayne Hudson told the Associated Press: “This thing has to escalate so people see the violence and who is protecting the interests of the corporations.”