Citing the need to maintain "safe and sanitary conditions" that Oakland is so well known for, on Tuesday morning city officials ordered police to dismantle the Occupy Oakland encampment that had been established in front of City Hall as part of a nationwide protest against economic inequality. But by Tuesday night, the protesters had returned and police were forced to re-establish "safe and sanitary conditions" using the most effective means available – firing tear gas canisters until people vomited in the street…
Dozens of police in riot gear and hundreds of protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse in downtown Oakland on Tuesday, with authorities using tear gas to respond to demonstrators' repeated agitations.
The latest such skirmish came around 11:15 PDT in front of City Hall, where a haze of chemical smoke still hung in the air following several similar clashes at the site over the course of the night.
It was the fifth time in about three hours that police a fired a volley of tear gas to disperse a crowd at the scene where ongoing tension has erupted into conflict throughout the day.
Of course, the use of heavy-handed tactics may be justified if the protesters were truly dangerous. After all, we can't have a bunch of committed anarchist thugs — or are they hapless hippies too busy forming drum circles to do any real damage? I keep forgetting! — hanging out in a public space in Oakland, possibly disrupting our nation's vital Strategic Medical Marijuana Reserves. And just how radical are the protesters' views of police authority?
Gabe Meyers, a protester who had been camping at the plaza, said, "People are going to keep coming back. What are they going to do, send cops in every night and waste taxpayer dollars?"
Meyers added, "The cops are the 99 percent, but they're doing the work of the 1 percent. Wall Street is proud of them every time they clear out an encampment."
But perhaps the Oakland Police Officers Association has nothing to worry about. Now that its members have saved Oakland from the scourge of citizens demanding better public services, I'm sure politicians will make sure that the overtime costs for this operation will be covered by wealthy taxpayers and not cuts in police pensions. That's usually how it works…right?
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: California, Occupy Wall Street, Police, Protesters