In the US, all eyes are now on Oakland, where anti-corporate protests see their first casualty after a young man was hit by a car. Thousands took to the streets in the Californian city and shut down operations in one of America's major sea ports.
This follows last week's violent police dispersal of a demonstrators' camp, which resulted in a former US marine being severely injured.
RT correspondent Lucy Kafanov has been at the center of events in the protest-locked port. As she explains, the port was effectively shut down after thousands of people marched from downtown Oakland to the port area and blocked all the gates, in this way firing a “warning shot” to the so-called 1 per cent – the corporate owners of the port – in an attempt to hurt the elite where it hurts them most: in the pocket.
One of the port workers reportedly attempted to speed through the crowd, almost running through the protesters. A large crowd then surrounded the car and blocked its owner from leaving. Many were furious at such an aggressive act being perpetrated against a peaceful march.
At one point, the RT crew was surrounded by the crowd, which wouldn’t let them pass either. Lucy Kafanov says protesters were voting on whether to let the team through.
“Half support us, half don't,” she wrote in her Twitter microblog. “The truck was surrounded. Some protesters wanted to let us pass [because] we are @RT_com but others got angry… They surrounded us, [wouldn’t] let anyone pass. I got out and tried to reason with the crowd.”
“To cut a long story short: we film the car plowing through the crowd. Attempt to get back to feed video. No way to get out of the port, so we hitch a ride with CBS,” the RT correspondent reported before the team finally managed to make its way through.
The RT correspondent notes the enormous contrast between the heavy-handed tactics employed by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) last week, when a tough crackdown resulted in several hundred arrests and injury to an Iraq war veteran, on the one hand, and the massive yet peaceful demonstration in the city port, with almost zero police presence, on the other.
Before this, the Occupy Oakland/Wall Street protest seemed to have got out of hand, with the windows of some banks smashed downtown, allegedly by people wearing black scarfs to cover their faces (watch the video below). Such destruction of property appears to be in sharp contrast to the behavior of OWS protesters in the Californian city, and many participants don’t approve such tactics.
“This is not what the movement is about,” one of the protesters told RT. “It’s about freedom and peace, and equality. And a few anarchists are behind all this [the destruction of property].”