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Occupy Oakland: Overnight violence was done by small group of protesters

5:46 PM, Nov 3, 2011   |    comments
Occupy Oakland broken window
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OAKLAND, CA - Occupy Oakland distanced itself from the overnight violence, saying it was a splinter group of protesters causing the trouble.

When the splinter group vandalized walls with graffiti, lit firebombs and broke into a vacant building, police in riot gear moved in.

Phil Tagami stood in the lobby of his $50 million renovated office building with a shotgun.

"We were armed and that was a deterrent for keeping them from coming into the building," Real Estate Developer Phil Tagami said. "We basically had a stand-off, you could say, until the police came to move the rioters, the provocateurs, the anarchists."

Like other downtown Oakland business owners, Tagami spent the day directing repair crews to fix the damage replacing panels of windows at $5,000 to $8,000 each and cleaning off the graffiti.

Mia, who didn't want her last name used, volunteered to clean up during her lunch break.

"I can only do this for a half hour because I'm on my lunch break right now, "Mia said. "I have to go back to work, but I wish I could do it all day."

The vandalism came after a relatively peaceful day-long general strike in which Occupy Oakland encouraged people to skip school and work to protest the economic inequality.

The strike culminated with an impressive march that shut down the Port of Oakland. However, the splinter group decided that wasn't enough, which upset residents and workers.

"This is really a betrayal of the spirit of social change and revolution in the United States," Oakland Music Director Michael Fried said.

"We are about peace," Oakland Resident Angel Levy said. "We are about resolving issues. We are not about terrorism."

Derek Winslow was one of the more than 80 arrested.

"It was an expression of the frustration people felt towards the banking system, towards the police," Arrested Protester Derek Winslow said. "I'm really frustrated that people broke these windows for City Dental right here. That was not the type of place people should be targeting."

News10/KXTV

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