The Occupy movement resurged from a relatively quiet winter after about 400 people were arrested in Oakland over the weekend.
Protesters burned flags and broke into City Hall, scrawling graffiti and hurling rocks and bottles during an attempt to overtake a vacant community center. According to reports, about 100 cops swarmed the area, some responding with tear gas and flash grenades.
Things began peacefully Saturday afternoon with more than 1,000 demonstrators gathering at Frank Ogawa Plaza, but things took a violent turn at nightfall. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that people forced their way into City Hall and vandalized its lobby by overturning a model of the city and damaging an exhibit of children's art. Police told The Associated Press protesters destroyed construction equipment.
The violent protest incited both outrage and support for the movement. Oakland Mayor Jean Quinn said the California city is tired of one faction using Oakland as their playground. Christopher Haugh of The Daily Beast claimed the Occupy movement has lost its way while Occupy Oakland spokesperson Omar Yassin told The New York Times the vandalism was not something I would have done.
Meanwhile, press releases on OccupyOakland.org supported the protester's actions, accusing the police for violating civil rights and using the same tear gas grenades that injured Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen in October. These kids are heroes, Cathy Jones, an attorney, is quoted as saying on the Occupy Oakland Web site.
The Occupy movement faces an important week ahead now that it has re-entered the spotlight. Occupy D.C. faces a move-out deadline Monday and this weekend's arrests already sparked a solidarity march in New York City--twelve people were arrested, according to The New York Times.
Were the Occupy Oakland protesters brave Samaritans or destructive criminals? Decide from the pictures.