OAKLAND, Calif. – The Port of Oakland considered to be the nation’s fifth-busiest shipping port was shut down by over 4,500 protesters at midnight on Wednesday as protesters claimed a victory for the general strike organized by Occupy Oakland.
Port Executive Director Omar Benjamin said that as a result of the protest, “maritime operations are effectively shut down. “Occupy Oakland organizers said they wanted to halt exports at the port in an effort to block Chinese exports to the U.S. and strike against the highest paid 1 percent in the nation.
The protest that began at 9 a.m. grew to thousands of protesters by 6 p.m. as protesters were seen climbing on top of carrier trucks as others held signs saying, “This is what democracy looks like.”
As night turned to daylight, hundreds of protesters faced off with police Thursday morning as over a dozen police officers wearing riot gear launched tear gas as protesters were seen causing extensive damage downtown.
The Oakland police released a statement describing the violence that broke out overnight. “Oakland Police responded to a late night call that protesters had broken into and occupied a downtown building and set several simultaneous fires,” the statement read. “The protesters began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles, and flaming objects at responding officers. Several private and municipal buildings sustained heavy vandalism. Dozens of protesters wielding shields were surrounded and arrested.”
Video – Peaceful Occupy Oakland protest degenerates into riot