A day after thousands of protesters filed into downtown Oakland, the city was still calculating costs and assessing the outcome of the third major demonstration in just six months.
And the general picture was positive. Festive crowds surged through downtown during the May Day general strike while avoiding the worst excesses of past actions organized by Occupy Oakland.
The streets were mostly empty by midnight instead of filled with tear gas, blockades and police in riot gear. One melee broke out after sunset at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza as several hundred people surged toward police. But the flare-ups between police and protesters were brief, and tear gas was kept to a minimum.
In all, 39 demonstrators
Police arrested seven people for refusing to disperse or unlawful assembly and several others for resisting arrest, robbery, battery, vandalism or having an incendiary device. One had violated a restraining order issued after previous Occupy protests, police said.
Officials are still tallying the total cost to the city.
"We're well aware that not everyone is involved in violent and criminal acts," Oakland police Officer Chris Bolton said Wednesday afternoon at the Seventh Street headquarters. "But we are aware that those elements exist."
To weed out those
Oakland called in mutual aid when they realized the magnitude of the demonstrations, which brought at least 5,000 people downtown at one time early Tuesday evening. The general strike began at 7 a.m.
Nearly 200 Oakland police and more than 150 officers from nearby law enforcement agencies were deployed, Bolton said. Pleasanton, Hayward, Fremont, Newark and Emeryville police departments sent backup, as did California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, which coordinated the mutual-aid response.
About a half-dozen vehicles were set on fire, and three Fremont police patrol cars and a van were vandalized, Fremont police Detective Bill Veteran said. The tires on a news van were slashed.
Officers were hit with paint balloons dipped in wax, beer cans and stones, Bolton said. But there were no reports of serious injuries on either side -- in contrast to previous actions.
In October, former Marine Scott Olsen was critically injured by a tear-gas canister fired at him by an officer during an Occupy Oakland demonstration. Another veteran was seriously wounded during the Nov. 2 general strike.
Oakland police met with the various agencies before May 1 to discuss acceptable munitions and tactics, Interim Deputy Chief Darren Allison said. He was the operations chief Tuesday.
Police Chief Howard Jordan, City Manager Deanna Santana, Mayor Jean Quan and others watched streaming video of the general strike from a command center set up a few blocks from City Hall. In addition to small cameras attached to their uniforms, four officers each carried a camera that fed a live stream back to the command center.
"We thought it went well," city of Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd said Wednesday. She was standing near City Hall, where thousands of protesters had stood a day earlier. For several months, it was the Occupy Oakland campsite until the city dismantled it and forced out Occupy members.
"We were able to facilitate a peaceful demonstration," Boyd said about the May Day general strike. Since October, about 60,000 people have participated in demonstrations in Oakland, according to the city's official count.
"We've just gotten used to it," said Penelope Adibe, co-owner of the Oakollectiv boutique on Broadway. The shop's window was broken during a previous demonstration and closed Tuesday, as did Tully's cafe, a few storefronts away, and Oaklandish across the street.
But, Adibe said, the demonstrations have brought them new business because, "the store is in the middle of everything."
In San Francisco, police arrested 26 people early Wednesday morning while clearing protesters from a building they had occupied at Turk and Gough streets Tuesday.
Staff writer Chris De Benedetti contributed to this report.