Beginning at 9am, Occupy protestors gathered at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland on Wednesday. Around downtown and City Hall, traffic was blocked and ATMs were defaced in anger as the crowd marched through the branches of major banks. Oakland police estimated around 400 in the crowd in the early hours up until noon. Hundreds and thousands more are expected to join and show their support throughout the day.
This morning, Oaklanders were joined by many other Bay Area citizens in support of the Occupy movement's cause and goals. Many businesses and stores in the downtown area are shut down today, some of which include Rite Aid, Foot Locker, and Tully's Coffee. Other stores showed their support for the strike by taking cash only today. Credit card fees would just be another way of pouring into multinational corporations, they believe. Some shops closed down not by choice, but by force when met by protestors taking over the streets.
One of the strike's goals today is to shut down the Port of Oakland. Port officials are saying that 35 to 40 longshoremen refused to show up for work today. According to district spokesman Tony Flint, Oakland Unified School District is reporting that 300 to 350 teachers (out of the 2,000 in Oakland) did not come to work.
Also in honor of the general strike, some employees at the University of California's Office of the President are also skipping work today. About 1,300 of these employees were encouraged to work remotely today, while the rest were sent to the downtown office located on Franklin Street.
There is an entire agenda planned out for this demonstration. On the main page of OaklandLocal.com, main events described include a noon rally at City Hall, a free lunch and cookout at Occupy's street kitchens, and an evening rally around 4pm that will make its way to the port. It appears as though some reports are saying the port has already been shut down earlier in the day.
Back at the Frank Ogawa Plaza, more than a hundred tents have been set up since October 11th. Over much back-and-forth with the Oakland police and Mayor Jean Quan, the settlers were forced out of the site and then let back in again. Today's episode in Oakland speaks to more than the 99 percent in the San Francisco Bay Area--the general strike has spurred solidarity demonstrations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York this Wednesday.