OAKLAND -- Occupy Oakland demonstrators clashed all over downtown Tuesday night with police who lobbed tear gas at least three times in futile attempts to fully disperse the more than 1,000 people who took to the streets after the early-morning raid of the movement's encampment.
The rolling protest came about 12 hours after hundreds of police from throughout the Bay Area rousted about 300 people from the two-week old camp at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Tensions escalated after protesters vowed to return to the plaza.
"We had to deploy gas to stop people from throwing rocks and bottles at police," said Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, adding that he was unsure about what other crowd-control methods were used by outside police agencies. There were unconfirmed reports that flash-bang grenades and wooden dowels were launched at protesters.
Following the predawn raid, about 500 protesters met at the main branch of the Oakland library at 4 p.m., chanting that they would "reclaim" what they now call Oscar Grant Plaza, named for the unarmed man who was killed in 2009 by a BART police officer.
The demonstrators sparred with hundreds of police for more than six hours, forcing police to close streets, reroute traffic and launch four rounds of bean bags into the crowd of protesters.
At one of the tensest moments near Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, sparks from explosives thrown at officers by protesters and police tear gas canisters could be seen exploding over the scattering crowd.
The number of protester injuries was not immediately known, but there was an unconfirmed report from a first-responder on the scene that a protester was struck in the head by a tear-gas canister. Two officers were hurt when protesters splattered them with paint.
By mid-evening the crowd had not dispersed, and an earlier tweet by Occupy Oakland organizers gave locations where the group wanted people to congregate and urged demonstrators to "bring bottles."
Jordan said 102 people were arrested Tuesday, the majority taken into custody before dawn. Many were taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and held on $10,000 bail each. Occupy Oakland organizers flooded Mayor Jean Quan and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office with demands that detained protesters be cited and released. Those arrested included people from as far away as Florida and Illinois, a city official said. Police said the protesters likely would be out of jail by Wednesday.
Tuesday evening, the group wound its way from the main branch of the Oakland Public Library to the city's jail and then to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, the epicenter of the Occupy Oakland movement.
Before dawn Tuesday, hundreds of police from
Police raided a much smaller encampment in nearby Snow Park on Lake Merritt about 30 minutes later, and made six arrests there.
Many left on their own, while others were handcuffed and led away by police. Protesters tried to hold police off with firecrackers, a fire extinguisher, the police department's own barriers, metal Dumpsters, and even the City Hall Christmas wreath, police and protesters said. One officer said that during the camp shutdown, protesters threw bottles, skillets, other kitchen utensils and rocks at police. They also "threw plates at us like Frisbees," the officer said. Police confirmed that protesters had set off a fire extinguisher and several low-level explosives they used to try to confuse or deter oncoming police.
Carpet, garbage, food, sleeping bags and tents were strewed over the lawn at the plaza, which looked like a refugee camp that had been struck by a hurricane. Frank H. Ogawa Plaza will remain closed until public health and safety conditions can be improved.
A spokesman for the National Lawyers Guild said two people suffered broken hands and a third was hospitalized with a head injury following the morning raid.
Occupy Oakland began on Oct. 10 in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and was originally in protest of widespread unemployment and corporate greed. Soon, the encampment grew to encompass support for state prison inmates who are on hunger strikes, housing rights, fair wages and against social oppression.
With the growing list of causes, the "tent city" also grew to an estimated 300 campers, with stalls for medical aid, food, art and community meetings. Along with the makeshift encampment came problems. City officials reported rats in the plaza, fights, sexual harassment and assaults, drug use and violence against members of the media.
In an interview Tuesday, Mayor Jean Quan -- who is in Washington, D.C., on city business -- said City Hall "has been trying to walk a fine line between free speech and public safety." The first week of the encampment was mellow, Quan said, with campers responding to every concern the city raised.
But in the second week, she said, "It was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the city could maintain safe or sanitary conditions, or control the ongoing vandalism.
"I am sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement and participated in the local march," Quan said, "but as problems came, they couldn't and didn't respond, I decided I have a responsibility to keep people safe, too."
Quan credited Jordan, sworn in as interim chief less than two weeks ago, for handling the shutdown without anyone getting seriously hurt.
Staff writers Thomas Peele and Lisa Fernandez contributed to this story.