The Occupy Oakland protest escalated sharply on Tuesday night as police fired tear gas and “chemical agents” into a crowd of several hundred protesters. The group had been attempting to move back into an encampment that the police cleared 12 hours before.

The police force’s action quickly dispersed the protesters who then took to aiding one another, offering eye solution and carrying away one protester who had been struck by a flying teargas canister.

The actions came as a surprise to no one gathered, as the police had announced that anyone who violated the order to vacate the plaza would be subject to tear gas. Nevertheless, canisters were dispatched and the plaza remained clear. City officials said that the steps were necessary for sanitary and public safety reasons.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Police fired tear gas Tuesday night into a crowd of several hundred protesters backing the Occupy movement who were seeking to retake an encampment outside Oakland City Hall that officers had cleared away more than 12 hours earlier.

Police gave repeated warnings to protesters to disperse from the entrance to Frank Ogawa Plaza at 14th Street and Broadway before firing several tear gas canisters into the crowd at about 7:45 p.m. Police had announced over a loudspeaker that those who refused to leave could be targeted by “chemical agents.”

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