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Occupy Oakland damage assessed after protesters break into City Hall

Officials assessed damage to City Hall caused by Occupy Oakland protesters while leaders of the movement claimed Sunday that police acted illegally in arresting hundreds of demonstrators.

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Oakland, Calif., Mayor Jean Quan surveys damage to City Hall on Sunday following an Occupy Oakland protest Saturday. After a confrontation with police, demonstrators gained entrance to City Hall where they burned an American flag, broke glass and toppled a model of City Hall.

Noah Berger/AP

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Officials assessed damage to City Hall caused by Occupy Oakland protesters while leaders of the movement claimed Sunday that police acted illegally in arresting hundreds of demonstrators and could face a lawsuit.

Mayor Jean Quan was among those inspecting damage caused after dozens of people broke into City Hall on Saturday, smashing glass display cases, spray-painting graffiti, and burning an American flag.

That break-in culminated a day of clashes between protesters and police. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said nearly 400 people were arrested on charges ranging from failure to disperse to vandalism. At least three officers and one protester were injured.

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In a news release Sunday, the Occupy Oakland Media Committee criticized the police conduct, saying that most of the arrests were made illegally because police failed to allow protesters to disperse.

"Contrary to their own policy, the OPD gave no option of leaving or instruction on how to depart. These arrests are completely illegal, and this will probably result in another class action lawsuit against the OPD, who have already cost Oakland $58 million in lawsuits over the past 10 years," the release said.

The scene around City Hall was mostly quiet Sunday morning, and it was unclear whether protesters would mount another large-scale demonstration.

Dozens of officers remained present inside and outside City Hall after maintaining guard overnight. Occupy Oakland demonstrators broke into the historic building and burned a U.S. flag, as officers earlier fired tear gas to disperse people throwing rocks and tearing down fencing at a convention center.

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