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Occupy Oakland March Mostly Peaceful, 2 Arrests

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Two were arrested when several protesters attempted to interfere with a traffic stop during a mostly peaceful anti-police march in Oakland Saturday night, police said.

Around 50 people gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza at 9 p.m. and marched through the streets of downtown and West Oakland, police said.

Motorcycle officers blocked and diverted vehicle traffic to facilitate the march, police said, and the protest proceeded peacefully.

Around 11 p.m., about 30 protesters remained at the plaza, and gathered around a California Highway Patrol officer making a traffic stop at the corner of 14th Street and Clay Street.

Protesters angrily shouted at the officer, police said, and Oakland police approached the crowd to ensure the CHP officer's safety.

The CHP officer sent the driver to another location to complete the traffic stop, and Oakland police said they were leaving the area when one female protester kicked a sergeant in the leg and kicked a police car.

As police were arresting her, another protester attempted to pull her away from the arresting officers and was also arrested, police said.

During the confrontation, another protester struck the sergeant in the head with a protest sign and fled, avoiding arrest.

No one was injured in the incident, police said.

Anti-police marches have been held weekly on Saturday nights in Oakland since the beginning of the year, in response to what Occupy Oakland protesters call continued police harassment and brutality at protest events.

Organizers have called for a "diversity of tactics" at the marches, asking attending protesters not to interfere if other protesters break the law by damaging police and media property, barricading streets or starting fires.

More recently, protesters attending have been asked not to interfere with the actions of other protesters, but the announcements have not called specifically for property destruction or violence.

Oakland police said they attempted a less confrontational strategy at this march, maintaining a minimal presence but observing the marches and being able to react if needed.

Despite the confrontational rhetoric of the anti-police marches, only the first, held on Jan. 8, resulted in large clashes with police and since then the actions have been mostly peaceful.

However, an Occupy Oakland action on Jan. 28 did result in the arrest of over 400 participants and clashes between police and protesters throughout the day. That action was intended to take over a vacant building and turn it into a community center and was not specifically anti-police.

This week, anti-police protests also spread to San Francisco, where a similar march wound through downtown on Friday night. At least one protester was arrested during the march, and police said a car's window was smashed but the driver left the scene.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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