Occupy Oakland Protesters Shut Down Port

Does this represent a new phase of the movement?

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Protesters at the Port of Oakland (AFP)

In Oakland, Calif., yesterday, Occupy Wall Street protesters shut down one of the nation's busiest shipping ports, escalating a movement that had until that point been limited to marches, rallies and tent encampments.

Police estimated that a crowd of about 3,000 gathered at the port. Protesters disrupted operations by blocking exits with chain-link fencing and parked vehicles and erecting fences to block main streets to the port. A port spokesman said Wednesday night that evening operations had been "effectively shut down."

Later in the evening, at the Occupy encampment across the street from Oakland City Hall, the protesters started a large bonfire in the middle of a street. A clash between police and a group of protesters ensued, with police warning protesters to disperse before they fired rounds of tear gas and "flash bang" grenades to clear the area.

The scene was in stark contrast to the daylong peaceful strike at the Port of Oakland earlier in the day, which highlighted a daylong "general strike" in the city. Many businesses in the city closed their doors, some expressing support for the movement.

This action of shutting down a port and calling for a citywide strike would seem to take the movement into a new phase. Will OWS movements in other cities follow suit and ratchet up their tactics? 

Read more at the Washington Post.

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