Today, as was the case during yesterday's protests, there was a large group protesting against China's policies toward Tibet. There were some people near me who were taunting the black-clad riot police by humming one of the themes from a Star Wars movie.

There were signs and chants saying "money for jobs and education not wars and occupation." There was a marching band playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic and an anarchist group chanting "no laws, no borders, no bosses," and a sign that read "Obama, keep your fair trade promises, and "rescue Falun Gong practitioners "

Later I met Adan Stevens-Diaz who came to Pittsburgh from Brooklyn, NY. He was carrying a sign that read " Obama, you're a speech walking. So was Robespeare." When we spoke, Diaz referred to Obama as a "walking sound byte."

The smaller march in Oakland made its way down the slope of 5th Avenue into downtown. When I got there, it was too crowded for me to get close to the area where people were giving electrically amplified speeches. But I caught some of what they were saying. I had heard some of it during events earlier in the week, before this main rally took place.

"Poor people in this country cannot afford to NOT be here," I heard one speaker say. She also said that to address healthcare issues and other issues, "we need a new system" and that "another world is not only possible, Goddammit, it's necessary!"

She went on to say "We'll pitch tents along the roadside. We'll march with some of the original freedom marchers," in reference to the march from New Orleans to Detroit, the site of the 2010 US Social Forum.