Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

May 3, 2012

Stinging gas sends May Day protesters fleeing

OAKLAND, Calif. —  Thousands of protesters in New York demanded an end to income inequality and housing foreclosures. Police fired tear gas to disperse marchers in Oakland, Calif. And black-clad demonstrators smashed windows in Seattle and occupied a building owned by the Catholic archdiocese in San Francisco.

Activists across the U.S. joined in worldwide May Day protests Tuesday, with anti-Wall Street demonstrators leading the way in some cities as they tried to recapture the enthusiasm that propelled their movement last fall.

While some protesters clashed with police, the melees were far less violent than ones that erupted last fall when the Occupy movement was at its peak. There were no major disruptions, though arrests were reported — including dozens in the San Francisco Bay area.

Many of the rallies, which drew activists pushing a variety of causes, also did not have the same drawing power that gatherings had last year for the Occupy movement or a half-dozen years ago for May Day rallies for immigration reform.

In recent years, activists in the U.S. used May Day to hold rallies for immigrant rights, but the day has been associated for more than a century with workers’ rights and the labor movement both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Across the world on Tuesday, protests drew tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets from the Philippines to Spain. They demanded everything from wage increases to an end to cuts in education, health care and other austerity measures.

The U.S. protests were the most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since the movement’s encampments were dismantled last fall.

The major developments include:

— In Oakland, the scene of several violent clashes between activists and police during last fall’s Occupy-inspired protests, the situation threatened to boil over again when police fired tear gas, sending hundreds of demonstrators scrambling.

Officers also fired “flash-bang” grenades to disperse protesters converging on police as they wrestled people to the ground while trying to make arrests, and used more tear gas on Tuesday night to break up the bottle-throwing remnants of what had been a peaceful rally of several thousand.

At least 25 people were taken into custody during the course of the day, including one for setting a police car on fire, police said.

Earlier, some protesters tried to force businesses to shut down for not observing calls for a “general strike.”

— In Seattle, black-clad protesters used sticks to smash store windows and ran through the streets disrupting traffic. Police arrested eight people.

While much smaller in scale, the mayhem was reminiscent of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in the city that caused widespread damage to stores and forced the cancellation of some WTO events.

Authorities said many of the most violent protesters tried to hide in the crowd by shedding their all-black clothes. A spokesman for Seattle’s mayor said Wednesday that vandals threw rocks into the mayor’s home around midnight but no one was injured.

— In New York, hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters and their supporters spilled out onto Fifth Avenue in a confrontation with police amid citywide protests, while thousands later gathered peacefully in Union Square.

The group had promised the day would mark a spring revival of their movement.

Occupy organizer Mark Bray said the mood had changed since the group’s first organized events late last year. “There was a sense of novelty to Occupy in October,” he said. “Today is more celebratory, and nostalgic.”

Marchers briefly flooded the avenue and blocked traffic before police in riot gear pushed them onto the sidewalks. The group chanted: “We are the people. We are united!”

— In San Francisco, about 200 people took over a vacant building owned by the local archdiocese and targeted in previous protests. Two men on adjacent rooftops lobbed pipes and bricks at officers.

About two dozen protesters were taken into custody as police officers in riot gear cleared the building Wednesday, KGO-TV reported.

Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters he assumed some of the people inside the building were part of a group that vandalized shops, cars and a police station during a pre-May Day demonstration Monday night.

— In Chicago, about 2,000 activists marched through the city to demand immigration reform and greater protections for workers. The crowd was much smaller compared to the half a million people who rallied in Chicago in 2006 to demand immigration reform.

— In Los Angeles, a group that broke off from a downtown rally for immigration reform briefly skirmished with police and left an officer injured. Ten union demonstrators were arrested for blocking an intersection near Los Angeles International airport.

Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told KNBC-TV that an officer was hit in the helmet by a skateboard, but she was in good condition.

— In Atlanta, about 100 people rallied outside the state Capitol, where a law targeting illegal immigration was passed last year. They called for equal rights for all workers and an end to local-federal partnerships to enforce immigration law.

The rally was significantly smaller than last year’s, which drew about 1,000 people. Organizers said turnout last year was greater, in part, because the protest was on a Sunday, rather than during the workweek.

“I’m a bit disappointed, but I think this is something to be expected,” said Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, one of the main organizers of the rally.

“It’s very difficult to keep a high level of excitement going,” Nicholls said. “But it’s not only about mobilization. It’s also about organization, and we have people working every day to promote immigrant rights.”

———

Contributing to this report were Associated Press photographer Eric Risberg in Oakland, and AP writers Samantha Gross, Colleen Long and Verena Dobnik in New York, Christina Hoag in Los Angeles, Peter Prengaman and Kate Brumback in Atlanta, Doug Glass in Minneapolis and Sophia Tareen in Chicago.

 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results