[By LISA LEFF
The Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. — Workers and students are among the hundreds of people gathering at Oakland's city hall plaza for an anti-Wall Street rally.
Protesters spilled into the street Wednesday morning, disrupting the downtown commute. So far, the crowds have been peaceful and the police presence light. Protesters are gearing up for a day of demonstrations and marches in the city, and across the country.
Oakland's "general strike" is protesting financial institutions blamed for high unemployment and the foreclosure crisis. Protesters also are striking against local school closures, waning union benefits and cuts to social services.
The city is allowing its employees to take personal time to participate in the strike. City Administrator Deanna Santana says 5 percent of city workers are taking the day off.
Copyright The Associated Press]