“God bless them” — Nancy Pelosi

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — About 300 people were arrested Saturday during a chaotic day of Occupy protests that saw demonstrators break into City Hall and burn an American flag, as police earlier fired tear gas and bean bags to disperse hundreds of people after some threw rocks and bottles and tore down fencing outside a nearby convention center.

Dozens of police officers remained on guard outside City Hall around midnight following the most turbulent day of protests since November, when Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment. An exasperated Mayor Jean Quan, who faced heavy criticism for the police action last fall, called on the Occupy movement to “stop using Oakland as its playground.”

“People in the community and people in the Occupy movement have to stop making excuses for this behavior,” Quan said.

Protesters clashed with police throughout the day, at times throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at officers. And police responded by deploying smoke, tear gas and bean bag rounds, City Administrator Deanna Santanta said.

“These demonstrators stated their intention was to provoke officers and engage in illegal activity and that’s exactly what has occurred today,” Santana said.