'Occupy Oakland' Protesters Call for Peaceful Rally After Police Use Tear Gas (VIDEO)
After more than 100 protesters were arrested due to the Tuesday battle with police in Oakland, Calif., where authorities used tear gas against the "Occupy Oakland" movement, protesters plan to return tonight, but have called on each other to protest peacefully and to avoid provoking the police.
Explosions and screams of surprised protesters were heard as officers from the Oakland Police Department reportedly started firing tear gas and other riot-control weapons, such as flash bangs, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds, into the crowd gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza.
It is the first time such drastic measures were used since the beginning of the country-wide protests, which started in New York, with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in mid-September. Protesters have been appealing to each other via social media to be reasonable and protest peacefully.
The police claim some protesters have been violent, allegedly triggering the extreme reaction of authorities. Oakland police chief Howard Jordan has justified his department's use of tear gas, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
"We were in a position where we had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks," he reportedly said. Jordan estimated there were about 1,000 protesters at the event's peak.
The account of last night’s events as told by police officials is disputed by some protesters. In a statement published Tuesday, "Occupy Oakland" said that police has "brutally attacked" the "peaceful protest" with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles. The police department denies that rubber bullets were used.
Protesters have announced that they will gather together in the same spot for another protest Wednesday tonight, and will continue protesting every night, according to the movements online announcements.
Facebook and Twitter have become the media of choice for thousands of local protesters to communicate with each other and voice their concern over methods used in protests. Many have called out to their fellow protesters to avoid violence.
"I know there are a lot of angry people in oakland, has been for over 20yrs, it's oakland right? but PLEASE keep it peaceful! only with peaceful protesting will we prevail! [sic]," a commenter wrote on "Occupy Oakland's" Facebook page, which counts over 3,500 users as members.
"Lets continue to spread the word and keep it as peaceful as possible [sic]," another user wrote.
Moods have been mixed, with many declaring they would fight, but only in self defense.
"I don't want to fight, but I will if it's necessary," one user wrote.
Here is amateur video shot in Oakland, Calif., the night protesters clashed with the police: