Occupy Oakland protesters fill Port of Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- In Oakland Wednesday, thousands of protesters shut down the city's shipping port, the fifth largest in the nation.
Demonstrators gathered at the Port of Oakland, marching through the area and surrounding container trucks. It's part of a general strike that was called Wednesday by the Occupy Oakland movement.
Crowds growing by the hour joined the Occupy Oakland movement, which called for a general strike Wednesday in the city, encouraging people not to go to work or school.
Hundreds of Occupy LA protesters marched downtown Wednesday night in solidarity with their counterparts in Oakland.
Most of the activity in the Northern California city centered around the downtown area and City Hall before moving toward the port.
No one was allowed to leave the port area Wednesday evening, but Oakland Police were allowing people to freely roam around the port.
Thousands effectively shut down the port. Many surrounded trucks and even climbed on top of them. Police were helping truckers leave the port if they wanted to.
Tactics were becoming somewhat disruptive as the afternoon wore on, but mostly the protest was peaceful.
Organizers are protesting the 1 percent they say have all the wealth and power. Wednesday they aimed to "stop the flow of capital." One corporation in particular was targeted because of alleged poor treatment of union workers.
The port primarily sends goods to Asia.
Several offices and stores closed down for the day, knowing the huge crowds could paralyze operations. The planned strike had the potential to be the biggest demonstration in the East Bay since the Vietnam War.
Police are ready for problems.
Last week, officers were under fire for using tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The hope was it wouldn't come down to that Wednesday night, but police say some of the faces look familiar, and so does their work.
Smashed windows could be the first signs of trouble. Some were smashed late Wednesday afternoon, caught on a student's video camera. The perpetrators were masked and dressed in black.
"I do have some concerns about the small group of people who are in the crowd, perhaps looking for a confrontation with police," said Howard Jordan, Oakland Police Dep.t interim police chief.
Businesses that bravely stayed open were worried about what the night may bring.
While owners support the movement's message, some say sales are way down.
"We have a right, too, to at least to feed our families. We've been hit from Oscar Grant. Now we're back here again," said Art Pollard, Mr. K's Fine Clothing.
california news, nannette miranda
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