Today was May Day, and many in the Bay Area turned out to protest. The day started with the ferry commute for North Bay denizens headed to San Francisco cancelled due to a labor action by workers in a dispute over health care. A planned protest aimed at shutting down the bridge was called off, but a few hundred state, federal and local officers patrolled the landmark anyway.
In Oakland, protesters targeted banks and skirmished with police, who used tear gas. Between three and five thousand protesters marched from San Antonio Park to Frank Ogawa Plaza in the afternoon and evening rallying for immigration reform, better health care and against banks. For about an hour protesters reveled to drum circles, a marching band and dancers. Then at about 8:30 p.m., police quickly lined-up, issued a dispersal order and began making arrests. A small group of protesters ran ahead, set trash cans on fire and broke windows. Within an hour hundreds of police had dispersed throughout downtown Oakland to round-up stray groups of protesers.
In San Francisco, protesters marched and took over a building at 888 Turk. San Francisco police escorted the protesters out of the building. One protester began hurling bricks at fellow protesters and police alike until he was arrested. Then the police left, and Occupiers re-entered the building.
Meanwhile, thousands of local nurses engaged in a one-day walkout at 10 Sutter Health Hospitals around the Bay Area.
Photos taken by our staff immediately below, and the latest updates on today's events here...
8:55 p.m. Police issue a second dispersal order for protesters to exit Frank Ogawa Plaza and disperse toward 16th Street. More arrests are made. A splinter group of protesters at 19th and Broadway began setting trashcans on fire, and are smashing windows.
8:40 p.m. Police declared an unlawful assembly, threw flash bangs, moved into the crowd and began making arrests. More protesters are throwing objects at the police.
8:30 p.m. Hundreds of protesters are still in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. Police have blocked off the Eastern stretch of 14th and southern part of Broadway, reports KQED's Don Clyde. A few protesters have begun throwing plastic bottles, fruit and other debris at police. At least one person has been arrested.
7:50 p.m. San Francisco police left 888 Turk Street, protesters celebrate and re-enter the building.
7:20 p.m. In Oakland, the second Lake Merritt group of between 1,000 and 2,000 protesters joined the group at Frank Ogawa Plaza. More than 90 police line the city hall. Meanwhile, the drum circles and marching bands began playing in earnest.
6:40 p.m. San Francisco police took into custody one man involved with throwing bricks, pipes and other objects from the building at 888 Turk. At least one more person is still shouting on top of the building, with 100 plus San Francisco police waiting.
6:50 p.m. The City of Oakland estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 people are marching toward Frank Ogawa Plaza. They confirm that there have been at least nine arrests, and that the police department has called for mutual aid tonight.
6:30 p.m. About a thousand protesters arrive back at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland chanting "Who's Streets? Our Streets." Some protesters are dancing, and some are breaking out gas masks, reports KQED's Don Clyde.
5:55 p.m. Thousands of protesters continue to march from San Antonio Park in Oakland to downtown. Some businesses downtown, including a Bank of America and parts of the Kaiser Permanente building, are boarding up in anticipation of protests tonight.
5:20 p.m. In San Francisco about 50 police officers escorted protesters out of 888 Turk, where protesters had re-occupied a building owned by the San Francisco Archdiocese. No arrests have been made yet, reports KQED's Thibault Worth.
4:23 p.m. Chronicle reporter Matthai Kuruvila tweeted the presser by Oakland police. Regarding the use of tear gas...
— matthai kuruvila (@matthai) May 1, 2012
3:50 p.m. This photo is generating a fair amount of discussion on the web...
— Gavin Aronsen (@garonsen) May 1, 2012
3 p.m. From Doug Sovern of KCBS:
Breaking: #OccupySF hits its target: fenced-off office bldg on Turk at Gough. Crowd surging into bldg as cops watch
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) May 1, 2012
This is the same building owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco that Occupy SF protesters took over about a month ago until police cleared it out.
2:31 p.m. From Doug Sovern of KCBS:
Maybe 300 #OccupySF protesters close Market & Van Ness intersection, surrounded by SFPD. Traffic quickly backing up in all directions
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) May 1, 2012
2:10 p.m. From Bay City News:
Hundreds of protesters have gathered at Market and Montgomery streets in downtown San Francisco this afternoon for a May Day rally. The demonstrators have blocked off both streets, and Muni buses and streetcars have been rerouted.
Organizers have billed the event as a "Topple the 1 percent" rally, and said it is meant to protest corporate greed and economic inequality.
At about 1:30 p.m., the protesters held up a more than two-story plywood figure of a man dressed in a business suit meant to represent the "1 percent," and broke it in half, eliciting cheers from the crowd. The atmosphere was lively, with protesters cheering and banging on drums. Some demonstrators had painted an image of a sun at the intersection.
The protesters carried signs, one reading, "Full rights for all immigrants," and another that said, "99 percent take over, topple the 1 percent."
2:03 p.m.Video from KGO TV of a woman being pulled off of her bike by police, which enraged the crowd:
Still photos of the incident taken by Mother Jones' Josh Harkinson on our Storify.
1:03 p.m. From KQED's Caitlin Esch:
- Oakland police spokesperson Johnna Watson confirms that "less than lethals" were used by police on Broadway near 14th, and that there was an explosion and some smoke. She wouldn't say if it came from tear gas, pepper spray or something else. Some protesters contend that tear gas was used.
- Watson said the non-lethal force was used after protesters had surrounded a police vehicle. Police had IDd vandals and were trying to get them out of the crowd when their wagon was surrounded. Watson also said a media van was vandalized.
- One protester said he saw three people being arrested.
- Police have slowly retreated amid shouts from protesters.And -- once again -- a festive atmosphere has broken out.
Caitlin Esch also notes that the crowd is less diverse than in the protests last fall. She sees mostly young people, many wearing masks or bandanas over their faces, and many wearing black. There aren't as many children or elderly present either.
12:50 p.m. From AP:
Workers, patrons and property owners clashed with a few dozen May Day protesters who stormed a downtown Oakland diner in an attempt to shut down the restaurant. The two sides scuffled briefly Tuesday morning before police moved in, and the restaurant stayed open. Demonstrators were upset that the diner had not closed its doors despite calls for a May Day ``general strike.''
After police intervened, protesters continued marching toward Oakland City Hall chanting ``Shut it down!''
The restaurant, Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, is co-owned by a member of the band Green Day.
Minutes earlier, protesters and police faced off as three masked demonstrators climbed to the roof of another restaurant and tried to get inside. The scenes are among several sites where small groups of protesters have gathered across the city.
12:20 p.m. Reporting for KQED, Don Clyde says violence has broken out at 14th and Broadway in Oakland. Clyde saw a woman on the ground face down surrounded by police, media and protesters. Bottles were thrown at police, who are trying to push the crowd back. Flashes and smoke. At least one arrest.
— Oakland North (@northoaklandnow) May 1, 2012
12:40 p.m. Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission was vandalized last night and they're not happy about it.
Nice work, occupiers. You made me leave my sick kid at home to go clean paint bombs off my windows. That'll show Wall Street, fellas. #OWS
— Four Barrel Coffee (@fourbarrel) May 1, 2012
Yes, we know. We know. You're still here, and you're still "occupying." Great. Leave small businesses out of it.
— Four Barrel Coffee (@fourbarrel) May 1, 2012
11:12 a.m. Caitlin Esch reports that marchers from various groups have converged on Frank Ogawa Plaza. A generally festive atmosphere has taken hold, with protesters playing music and dancing. A maypole has been set up in the middle of the street. Police presence is distant and light, Esch reports.
Scott Olsen, the Iraq War vet who last fall was critically injured by a bean bag projectile thrown by a police officer in an Occupy Oakland protest, is marching today. He told KQED’s Caitlin Esch that "if we want to shut down banks we're going to."
10:08 a.m. KQED's Caitlin Esch reports:
A few hundred people are making their way through downtown Oakland today. They're targeting banks and corporations and a few government institutions. They handed out a list of about 42 places they're trying to shut down. The group just left B of A by Lake Merritt. About 150-200 people managed to block the entrance to the bank, which responded by locking the doors so that people were unable to enter or leave for about 15 minutes. The crowd chanted "banks got bailed out, we got sold out." (Audio here).
The San Francisco Bay Guardian has a good list of today's planned actions, mostly in San Francisco and Oakland. And from Oakland Local: "A breakdown of 'unsanctioned' Occupied Oakland actions."
Local journalists are out and about covering today's May Day protests around the Bay Area. Click on the play button to activate the tweet stream. More on Twitter at #osf, #baym1gs (local) and #m1gs (national).
Yesterday, KQED's Cy Musiker talked to Fred Glass of CCSF's Labor and Community Studies Department about the relationship between the Occupy and labor movements.