Sunday, October 30 2011, 2:59 AM
Protester screams as he is arrested during clash with police in Denver.
OAKLAND, Calif. - Anti-Wall Street demonstrators held a festive march through San Francisco Saturday, but tension marked another march in nearby Oakland as protesters rallied against police violence in the name of an Iraq War veteran who was injured during a police clash.
Many of the some 1,000 demonstrators in San Francisco wore costumes as organizers had urged, including suits in an apparent imitation of Wall Street bankers and Robin Hood outfits.
Before the march, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore told them that excesses on Wall Street had stolen "the futures of so many of our citizens."
San Francisco police escorted the crowd as it snaked through city streets, and police spokesman Albie Esparza said there were no arrests or any disturbances.
The crowd stopped briefly and chanted in support of Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Iraq War veteran who suffered a fractured skull in an Oakland protest on Tuesday.
Later Saturday night, hundreds marched through the streets of Oakland in protest of police violence, as helicopters hovered overhead and officers in riot gear lined the streets.
The protesters chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "This is what a police state looks like!"
At one point tensions grew as protesters came face-to-face with a line of officers and some began taunting them, according to the Oakland Tribune.
But march organizers began shouting "Peace people up front!" then stood between some of the more unruly demonstrators and police officers. The situation grew calm and the march returned to the Oakland camp where it began.
There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.
A hospital spokesman said Olsen's condition was fair Saturday, and he had been moved from Highland Hospital in Oakland to another facility, but he could not say where.
Moore and other prominent figures had asked to visit Olsen, but his parents were restricting visitors to just family, Highland spokesman Vintage Foster told the Oakland Tribune.
"The only thing they care about is their son getting better," Foster said.
Fellow veterans say police fired an object that struck him in the head, but authorities say the object has yet to be definitively established, as well as the person responsible for the injury. His plight has become a rallying cry at Occupy protests around the world.
Oakland Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan defended the officers' action in the Tuesday incident, which stemmed from an effort to drive protesters from the encampment. He said in a statement that officers used what they believed to be the least amount of force possible to protect themselves, but that "all allegations of misconduct and excessive uses of force are being thoroughly investigated."
The encampment at the Oakland plaza near city hall has grown to about 50 tents, with organizers saying up to a thousand people were in the area late Friday with very few police in sight.
Protesters there also announced a strike on Nov. 2, when they will be urging banks and corporations to close for the day.
Across the San Francisco Bay, protesters at the San Francisco encampment reported earlier Saturday that city workers temporarily moved some protesters to clean the plaza.
Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for that city's mayor, Ed Lee, had said earlier that the camp cannot remain for "too many more days" because of health concerns.
Events in other California cities, including Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Los Angeles and its suburbs, were held Saturday.
The LA protest spread north to the San Fernando Valley, but police said that unlike the ones downtown at City Hall, these demonstrators won't be setting up camp. About 20 protesters calling themselves Occupy San Fernando Valley marched at Van Nuys Civic Center.
Los Angeles police released a statement saying anyone who violates the property's rules by setting up tents or trespassing after hours would be removed.
Protesters said they would move to nearby streets when police tell them to leave
Demonstrators also gathered in Lancaster, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles in the mostly rural Antelope Valley.
In San Diego, police broke up a three-week-old encampment early Friday, arresting 51 people.
In California's agricultural heartland, officials prepared to oust a group of about 30 demonstrators from next to a Fresno County courthouse. County officials said the group's permit would expire midnight Monday, and that demonstrators faced jail time and $500 fines if they remained.
The simmering tension in Denver escalated dramatically Saturday with more than a dozen arrests, reports of skirmishes between police and protesters and authorities firing rounds of pellets filled with pepper spray at supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Officers in riot gear moved into a park late in the day where protesters were attempting to establish an encampment, hauling off demonstrators just hours after a standoff at the Capitol steps degenerated into a fight that ended in a cloud of Mace and pepper spray.
Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said 15 people were arrested in the evening confrontation, where authorities were moving to prevent protesters from setting up tents in the park, which are illegal. Officals say the demonstrators had been warned several times that the tents would not be allowed and those who attempted to stop police from dismantling the camp gear were arrested. Protesters have been staying in the park for weeks, but tents have repeatedly been removed.
Murray said that most of the protesters were peaceful but there was "just a die-hard group that didn't want to cooperate."