Police and protesters on collision course in Oakland

Tim Daw

Police at Oakland City Hall are already in riot gear, waiting for a couple large May Day marches that converged at San Antonio Park, bringing together more than 1,000 protesters that will soon be headed for City Hall.

Several cops are already loaded down with tear gas canisters and an Alameda County Sheriff's Department armored vehicle, manufactured by Blackwater and armed with an LRAD sonic weapon, stands ready to be used on a protest that has been peaceful so far. We'll be posting updates of the situation as they develop.

6:20 Update: March has divided in three, with some estimates at 5,000 total protesters. Black bloc well represented and itching for a fight. Things are about to go down in Oakland.

6:35 update: Posted up near City Hall. Check sfscribe on Twitter for photos and comments from my May Day coverage of San Francisco and Oakland. 

7:20 update: Great party at Oakland City Hall! Dancers in front of the guarded entrance, bands and great DJs doing a dance party at 14th and Broadway, smoothly giving way to the speechs that are just starting. Beautiful weather. A wonderful May Day celebration! I sorta feel bad for leading with the police presence. Hopefully it lets the party proceed as long as people want to dance and speak.

8:30 update: Just before 8 pm, when the permit for the mobile speakers stage outside Oakland City Hall expired, Robbie Donohoe said that their permit was expiring and, "depending on your risk level," you should consider whether you want to stay. But... "They didn't have a permit in Egypt, they didn't have a permit in Tunisia, and we don't need a permit here! If you wanna stay, you stay!"

9 pm update: Police just cleared the plaza outside Oakland City Hall after the crowd reacted to officers trying to arrest someone with a stay-away order, which the city sought against many Occupy Oakland participants. OPD spokesperson Robyn Clark -- one of more than a half-dozen wandering the perimeter, per new OPD policy -- said there have been 11 arrests "and at this point, it'll take me some time to say whether there are any arrests for failure to disperse." I wonder whether the woman forced to the ground and hauled away as I walked in was one.

11 pm update: Lots of police-protester clashes all over Oakland, too many to sort out at the end of this long May Day. We'll post a bunch of great photos from throughout the day in SF and Oakland soon and then call it a night. The kids can tweet the rest. Good luck, everyone, it's been wild.