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Occupy Oakland Shuts Down City

An estimated crowd of 10,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters took to the streets of Oakland in what activists call the nation’s first general strike since 1946.

An estimated crowd of 10,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters took to the streets of Oakland in what activists call the nation’s first general strike since 1946.

Labor unions and teachers' organizations pledged support. Hundreds of teachers didn't show up for work, but the district was able to find substitutes and the schools remained open. Several businesses, including the Grand Lake Theater and Men’s Wearhouse, closed in solidarity.

Despite the longshoremen's union's efforts to keep the Port of Oakland open, maritime operations at the port have been officially shut down by protesters.

Also, while the day's events were peaceful, there were some incidents of rowdiness as windows were smashed, and graffitti spray-painted on some businesses. The Occupy protesters could be seen trying to stop those who were committing acts of vandalism, and even returning to clean up graffitti from defaced buildings. Mayor Jean Quan praised the protesters for their efforts towards keeping the event peaceful.

The businesses that suffered vandalism then became a sort of "tourist attraction" as people gathered to photograph the damage, and some even gathered shards of broken glass to keep as souvenirs.

At one intersection, two protesters were injured when they were struck by a Mercedes Benz. (Does anyone else see the irony there?) Witnesses say the pedestrians were struck intentionally, and became angry when the driver was released by the police. Neither of the protesters are said to have life-threatening injuries.

Then tensions escalated late Thursday after a group of protesters took over an abandoned building. Police cleared the building with tear-gas and flashbang grenades. Riot police then proceeded to raid the protesters' main camp, arresting between 30 and 40 people.

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