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BART verdict: 'Anarchists' clash with Oakland police [Updated]

July 8, 2010 |  9:38 pm

A group of people angry with the BART verdict clashed with police in riot gear in downtown Oakland late Thursday, throwing rocks and bottles at officers, starting small fires in the street and breaking into downtown businesses. Police were making numerous arrests.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said at a news conference that about 8 p.m., a group of people dressed completely in black and wearing black face masks moved south on Broadway, taking an aggressive posture. Batts described the group as “anarchists.”

“It was clear that they were taking an aggressive posture.... We started taking a number of rocks and bottles,” Batts said. “We then made a dispersal order” about 8:30 p.m.

Most protesters left, but those dressed in black did not.

A group of protesters shattered windows along Broadway, breaking into a Foot Locker and taking bags of athletic gear and shoes and throwing some into the street. Fresh graffiti was spray-painted on walls along Broadway; one outside Telly's Coffee read: “You can’t shoot us all.”

People broke windows at a Rite-Aid drugstore and entered Far East National Bank. Small fires were started in trash cans.

A California Highway Patrol car window was smashed.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums urged the crowd to “end it on a note that is dignified and respectful.”

[Updated, 9:53 p.m.: At 9:40 pm, residents could be heard yelling at younger protesters in the street to “go home. This is our city. Don’t destroy it.”]

-- Maria L. La Ganga reporting from downtown Oakland, and Rong-Gong Lin II and Louis Sahagun reporting from Los Angeles.

Photo: People loot a Foot Locker in Oakland following an involuntary manslaughter verdict in Johannes Mehserle's trial on Thursday. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press