'Festive, Righteous Anger': Occupy Makes May-Day Comeback With Massive Demonstrations
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The Bay Area celebrated May Day with a series of strikes and protests throughout the day, as 19 local labor unions joined thousands of occupiers and immigrants' rights activists.
The Inlandboatmens' Union staged a half-day strike, shutting down ferry service from Sausalito to San Francisco. The ferry workers are in a dispute with management over healthcare costs, and have been working without a contract for over a year. Early in the morning, they were joined by Occupy protesters in a picket line at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Bus and bridge workers had promised to honor the picket.
About 200 people participated in a peaceful but boisterous immigrants' rights march in San Francisco's Mission District in the morning. Several separate demonstrations wound their way through downtown Oakland, trailed by a heavy police presence. At one point, tear gas was deployed to disperse a crowd, according to protesters who were on the scene.
In the afternoon, a large contingent of Occupy San Francisco activists -- as many as 1,500 -- marched from the Financial District to set up residence in a vacant building from which they had been evicted weeks earlier. The building, formerly a shelter, is owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Police staged around the corner during the afternoon, but at around 4:30, approximately 200 officers clad in riot gear moved in, erecting barricades around the building. A tense standoff ensued, during which time a man on the roof of the building threw several objects -- a brick and some metal pipes -- at police, striking and injuring another protester, who was taken away by ambulance. A San Francisco police spokesman later said that the man had been apprehended and charged with aggravated assault.
After several hours facing down protesters, police again pulled back, and as of press time, protesters had flooded back into the building en masse.
The largest action of the day took place in Oakland during the evening, as an estimated 3,000 people took to the streets around City Hall. The protest was largely uneventful until after nightfall when, in a scene that has come to be all too familiar, Oakland police ended up dispersing occupiers with tear gas and "flash-bang" grenades. As of press time, arrests were ongoing.
-- Joshua Holland
Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch. Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at AlterNet and a freelance writer based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @fellowette and find her work at sarahmseltzer.com.
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.