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May Day protests: Skirmishes, tear gas, arrests in Oakland

May 1, 2012 |  4:24 pm

Click for more May Day photos

Four people were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Oakland when May Day protesters skirmished with police officers.

A crowd of demonstrators that had gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza surrounded Oakland Police Department officers as the officers tried to make an arrest. About 12:40 p.m., at least one protester threw bottles and at least one metal paint can at officers who formed a line to hold back the crowd.

One officer, who asked not to be named, was splashed in yellow paint and kicked in the ribs as he sought to arrest a protester whom officers said had rushed the police line.

Officers ordered the crowd to disperse, and when they did not, they fired tear gas into the air. 

PHOTOS: May Day protest

The Oakland Police Department "is focused on preventing illegal activity while affording the majority their rights to assemble and march," according to a department news release.

Separately, CBS reporter Doug Souvern tweeted that protesters attacked and dismantled one of his station's news vans.

About 400 people gathered in Oakland's City Hall plaza at midday Tuesday to reiterate their commitment to confronting social inequality and police aggression, in a sign that the ideals of the Occupy movement still resonate.

Some demonstrators wore face coverings and carried shields crafted from plastic garbage cans. Others identified themselves with crosses of red tape as medics in the event of clashes with police.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles hundreds of marchers moved downtown on Broadway to the Civic Center in what police called a peaceful protest. More demonstrators are scheduled to converge with them this afternoon from other parts of the city.

There were some tense moments on Hill Street when police and protesters came together. No arrests were made.

In San Francisco, May Day protests began early, as a demonstration that started peacefully in Dolores Park on Monday night ended with widespread vandalism.

More than 100 masked protesters -- dressed in black and gray and wielding crowbars and paintball guns -- descended on a busy restaurant and retail stretch in the city’s Mission district. Vandals smashed windows, defaced cars and attacked the neighborhood police station.

On Tuesday, a glass crew was parked outside the Mission district police station, and Jeffrey Garcia was inside filing a police report about damage to his two vehicles. His Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet pickup had been parked on Valencia Street as he had dinner at a nearby restaurant.

“I heard the noise, and the next thing I know, I come out and bang!” said Garcia, who provides battery service for a towing company. Vandals had slashed all four tires on his Passat, keyed the shiny black car and sprayed it with red paint. His pickup was also keyed.

RELATED:

May Day protests marred by vandalism in San Francisco

May Day observer at Olvera Street: 'I'm a little underwhelmed'

North, East and West legs of Occupy-led protest converge downtown

-- Lee Romney in Oakland, Maria L. LaGanga in San Francisco, and Angel Jennings and Rosanna Xia in Los Angeles

Photo: Oakland police officers push back Occupy protesters attempting to block a street. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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