VIDEO, PHOTOS: Occupy Oakland general strike shuts down Port of Oakland

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Protesters gathered at 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland yesterday as part of a mass general assembly in support of the Occupy Oakland movement.

“It’s enlightening to see people taking the streets,” said SF State student Adan Falcon, 23. “It’s a first step that will address the issues with last week’s attacks on the tents against their rights to protest.”

While many protesters called for peace at the assemblies that took place at 9 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., some vandalized a Whole Foods and Bank of America along the march route at approximately 2 p.m.

The Whole Foods was vandalized due to a rumor that employees were threatened to be fired if they participated in the march. The rumor was later disproved by a general manager of the company.

At around noon, buses began arriving where demonstrators were gathered to begin transporting them to the Port of Oakland, which the occupiers intended to shut down by the end of the night. Others started their trek to the port on foot and on bikes, with police leading a few feet ahead.

Thousands of protesters were at the port at approximately 5 p.m., some chanting and others climbing on trucks as they began their attempt to shut down operations. As more protesters arrived, they began to block all eight gates of the port, allowing only those without cargo to exit.

“The ports serve the economy as a funnel to capitalism,” said SF State student Olga Popova, 28. “We are sending the message that people are stronger than corporations.”

According to port authorities, by early evening protesters successfully managed to shut it down.

“Maritime area operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so,” port officials said in a statement. “(We ask that you) allow your fellow 99 percent to get home safe to their families.”

Shortly before 8 p.m., two demonstrators were hit by a car at the plaza and taken away in ambulances. According to witnesses, the police let the driver go.

Roughly around 8 p.m., longshoremen arrived at the port for their 8 p.m. shift and, citing a safety and health violation, left the premises at around 9 p.m.

Demonstrators decided to reconvene back at the encampment and began making their way back to Frank Ogawa Plaza.

“I wanted to come and show solidarity and support to the people who are here, especially to the unions and teachers who are here,” said Lynn Orlando of Berkeley. “I feel that we should honor the people who have experienced harassment at the encampment, especially Scott Olsen who served in Iraq two times.”

Shortly before midnight, protesters began to take over an abandoned building. Protesters hung banners in support of the movement outside of the Traveler’s Aid Society, which provided aid to homeless people and was foreclosed after the government cut funding to the program.

A group of police from different counties in the Bay Area arrived in riot gear at the corner of 17th and Telegraph Street, shortly after they fired tear gas at protesters.

Protesters began to pile up trash bins and set fire to them on 16th and Telegraph Street. After a few minutes, police began to move in on protesters and fired a round of tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The remaining protesters who did not leave the corner were surrounded by police and later detained. Demonstrators were transported to different county jails in the Bay Area.

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