Oakland was beset by its Occupiers once again. This time, several hundred protesters wandered the streets, looking for something to occupy, before wandering back to City Hall, which they attacked and trashed.
Oakland officials and Occupy protesters confronted the fallout from their increasingly toxic conflict on Sunday, a day after the tensions reignited in chaotic, often violent demonstrations that resulted in at least 400 arrests. As usual, each side blamed the other for sparking the violence.
City officials took stock of the damage from Saturday's clashes, which included injuries to three police officers and several protesters, as well as vandalism inside City Hall.
There, dozens of protesters had broken in with a crowbar, grabbed an American flag, and ignited it on the front steps.
I thought the whole point of Occupy (This Space) was to protest Wall Street greed, but Oakland is about as far as you can get, physically and philosophically, from Wall Street. The real problem is that Oakland's city fathers have shown themselves to be real pushovers. Rather than arrest these clowns and keep them in jail, they let them out to do more harm, psychoanalyzing all the way
"It's like a tantrum," Mayor Jean Quan said while displaying the damage inside the building, which included a broken model of City Hall she estimated to be 100 years old. "They're treating us like a playground."
Quan said Occupy Oakland had "refused to be nonviolent" and, as a result, was "turning off the rest of the movement." She said police would step up efforts to obtain restraining orders against some protesters to keep them from approaching City Hall.
A "tantrum?" No, they are responding to weakness, something Mayor Quan has displayed in abundance these last few months. You have to admire the Oakland Police Department, which has to do battle with white-bread street anarchists on the one side, and a feckless fifth column worried about the "movement" on the other. I would have turned in my badge long ago.
Typically for leftist revolutionaries, the Occupiers are exploiting the idealistic dupes among the Bay Area's progressive community and beyond. Despite the manifest squalor and crime surrounding all of the Occupy camps, the "1%-99%" formulation remains media talking point for everyone from the president and Warren Buffet, all the way down to Boots Riley and Van Jones. Occupy Oakland's leaders engaged in some pretty sleazy chicanery to draw a crowd this weekend:
Saturday's demonstration, which brought more than 1,000 people downtown, began on a festive note. After a brief noon rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza, Occupy supporters, accompanied by a small marching band, filled the street with banners.
Jordan said he did not consider the rally to be peaceful, however, because of marchers' plan to seize a building and because some of the protesters slashed tires as they walked.
Most marchers had no idea where they were going, because organizers kept secret the building they hoped to seize. Tensions rose as marchers arrived at the long-shuttered convention center just south of Lake Merritt and began tearing down fences.
That's actually pretty typical among leftist protest leaders, who want to lead a revolution, but know they could never draw a crowd if people really knew what they were up to. Instead, they just lie, brazenly, hoping to bring enough people to provide cover for the destruction they plan to wreak.