In Oakland, another march is under way – this time, writes Adam Gabbatt, a loose confederation of the Oakland education association and general Occupy protesters.
John Robb, from Fairfax, California, managed almost singlehandedly to shut down a Chase bank branch.
“I got here at 10.30am, one my own,” Robb told the Guardian from his position seated in front of the entrance.
“Security kept pushing me away, but I stayed by myself for another 30 minutes. Then someone else arrived, they still pushed us away. Then the big march came past and we called everyone over, they came and the bank locked the doors.”
The march Robb referred to is a loose confederation of the Oakland education association and general Occupy protesters. Since leaving Frank H Ogawa plaza te march has increased to perhaps two thousand strong and is currently encamped outside Bank of America’s HQ.
Some protesters voiced their desire to smash the bank’s windows; other protesters stood in front of the bank and prevented them from doing so.
In New York, Iraq war veterans, who had earlier marched along the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan to Zuccotti Park, have been addressing crowds at the Occupy Wall Street camp. Ryan Devereaux writes:
Gathered at the east end of the park e a young man in an Iraq Veterans Against the War t-shirt, and fatigues kicked off a press conference for the demonstrators occupying the plaza.
“My name is Joesph Carter,” he said through the human mic, “I am a two-time Iraq war veteran and this is the only occupation that I believe in.
“For too long our voices have been silenced, suppressed and ignored in favour of the voices of Wall Street and the banks and the corporations. Their money buys them disproportionate influence over the decision-makers in Congress.
“For ten years we’ve been engaged in wars that have enriched the wealthiest one percent, decimated our economy and left our nation with a generation of traumatized and wounded veterans that will require care for years to come.”
2.52pm: Adam has been speaking to Emily Yates, a friend of Scott Olsen, who is still in hospital after being hit by a projectile apparently fired by police when they tried to clear the Occupy Oakland camp last week.
Yates is a fellow Iraq war veteran, having served two tours, and along with Olsen is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
She said Olsen had shown his support for the march by liking a post on Facebook. “[The post] said that we’re carrying thoughts of him today at the strike,” Yates said.
Yates added that Olsen was “aware of all the stuff that is happening, and he’s really stoked about it.” Yates is meeting fellow Iraq Veterans Against the War later today and will be part of the march to the Port of Oakland.
Here’s more detail from Adam Gabbatt in Oakland on the situation at the city’s port.
Rumours were rife this morning that Occupy Oakland’s general strike had scored an early victory by encouraging longshore workers to shut down the Port of Oakland.
Protesters plan to march to the port later today, but were told that it had already been shut by workers refusing to work – apparently as a show of support for the Occupy movement.
I headed down to the port at 10am to check out the rumours. They weren’t true. While there was a backlog of trucks in a line at the port, the line was moving, as were cranes, which were busy loading and unloading containers.
Workers said there was a longer line than usual, but this was due to workers having walked out yesterday over a separate issue relating to safe working practices.
Returning to #OccupyOakland, speakers at the corner of Frank H Ogawa plaza were already backtracking on earlier claims the port had closed, but warning it was only a matter of time.
“Earlier we told you the Port of Oakland was closed. The port of Oakland is not closed… yet,” Clarence Thomas, a Longshore worker at the port, told the 1000 strong crowd.
Another speaker said plans go ahead for a picket of the port this afternoon. Protesters plan to march to the waterfront from 4pm.
There was a police presence at the port at 10.30am, in the form of around 20 officers on motorcycles, but it was unclear if this was in preparation for the Occupy Oakland action.
2.37pm: This picture gives a sense of the scale of the protest in Oakland today.
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