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Oakland antiwar protest gets ugly

A protester, who refused to give her name, said she was injured by police during Monday's clash.
A protester, who refused to give her name, said she was injured by police during Monday's clash.

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Police in Oakland, California, fired nonlethal projectiles to control a crowd of about 600 antiwar demonstrators. KTVU's Amber Lee reports. (April 8)
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OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- Police used "sting balls," wooden projectiles and bean bags Monday to control a crowd of about 600 antiwar demonstrators attempting to block two gates leading to a large shipping company at the Port of Oakland.

About 30 protesters were arrested, Oakland Police spokeswoman Danielle Ashford told CNN.

Direct Action to Stop the War organized the protest against American President Lines, saying the company ships arms and supplies for the U.S. military and is profiting from the war on Iraq.

Police were out in full force and some wore gas masks. Ashford said officers fired spool-sized wooden projectiles at the ground near protesters' legs and shot small bean bags directly at individuals to try to control the crowd.

They also fired so-called sting balls into the air above the crowd. The sting balls were small rubber pellets, about the size of M&M candies, which were contained in a larger ball that exploded in the air, raining pellets down on protesters.

Protesters displayed wounds for the news media they said were caused by police. One woman had a golf ball-sized lump on her jaw with a bloody scrape on it.

A police statement said officers were trying to allow people to exercise their right to protest but were also trying to maintain access to the port for trucks and other vehicles.

"The City of Oakland will not tolerate attacks which jeopardize the safety of our citizens, businesses, police officers and law-abiding protesters," the statement said. "As a result of the unlawful acts of individuals and their continued refusal to disperse, various crowd dispersal devices designed to minimize injuries were deployed."

Protesters face off with police Monday in the Port of Oakland.
Protesters face off with police Monday in the Port of Oakland.

"While the majority of the crowd dispersed, elements with the crowd continued to block streets and take an aggressive stance toward Oakland Police officers," it said.

International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), whose members also participated in the demonstration, released a statement saying the protesters were peaceful and quoted one woman who was there as saying the police brutality was outrageous.

Two other protests also took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, one at the Federal Building in San Francisco and another at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in suburban Concord, California.

No arrests were reported at those gatherings.

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