Hundreds of workers and students have taken to the streets in Oakland today as part of a daylong general strike called by Occupy Oakland organizers to protest economic inequity and corporate greed.There's UStream video here. The "Death to Capitalism" sign I saw is a nice touch.
The protest began at 9 a.m. when about 1,000 demonstrators blocked the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway just steps from Frank Ogawa Plaza before marching toward local banks. The crowd was peaceful and almost celebratory - a band was playing and walking with the group and a "flash mob" broke out in dance at one point - but traffic, including AC Transit buses, was being diverted from the area. The bus agency said many of its lines are being detoured.
By 11 a.m., marchers had reached Wells Fargo Bank at 12th Street and Broadway. The bank was closed, and no workers could be seen inside. Across the street, Comerica Bank locked its doors as protesters approached. Before the protest, police asked the banks to close their doors to everyone except customers and "facilitate customer access at secured doors."
Many downtown businesses, including national chains like Rite Aid and Foot Locker, closed for the day.
No uniformed police officers were visible at the march. But undercover officers have monitored previous Occupy Oakland protests.
By the afternoon, the protest is expected to move to the Port of Oakland, where marchers want to shut down the container terminal there. Port officials said about 12 percent of longshoremen did not report to work.
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