For a fourth time in as many nights, hundreds of US protesters marched through the streets of Berkeley and Oakland to protest grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men in St. Louis and New York.
Protesters briefly blocked the westbound lanes of Highway 24 and some set garbage cans on fire, but the demonstration was mostly peaceful, USA Today reported.
The demonstration began at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way near the UC Berkeley campus around 5 p.m. before heading for City Hall and then through downtown Berkeley streets toward Oakland. Protesters chanted against racial injustice and police brutality.
On and off ramps to freeways were heavily guarded by police in riot gear, but at about 9 p.m., dozens of protesters tore through a fence and climbed onto the westbound lanes of the freeway near the MacArthur BART station.
California Highway Patrol fired smoke projectiles and beanbags into the crowd. Demonstrators chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” and raised their hands in the air.
BART stopped all trains. The California Highway Patrol cleared the freeway in about 10 minutes. The Highway Patrol said it made several arrests.
Protesters had originally planned to take over city hall during the Berkeley City Council’s Tuesday evening meeting, but Mayor Tom Bates canceled the meeting.
City councilman Kriss Worthington addressed the crowd, criticizing police for using tear gas during Saturday night’s protest.
“I am embarrassed that Berkeley police would attack my constituents,” he said.
Protesters then took to the streets again but in smaller numbers than in Monday night’s massive protest.
The crowd grew as it marched into Oakland with frequent calls of “freeway, freeway.”
Tuesday night’s march was the third for Dre’an Cox who was carrying a sign that read: “Row Row Fight the Power.”
“I want police to stop attacking innocent people for no reason,” said Cox, 20, a student at Mt. Diablo Adult Education in Concord, Calif.
About 1,500 protesters marched on city streets on Monday night chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “Out of the houses! Into the streets!”
They confronted police outside police headquarters and brought traffic on Interstate 80 to a standstill.
California Highway Patrol officers said they arrested 223 people in Monday night’s demonstrations that blocked a major freeway, Interstate 80. Many were charged with blocking the roadway, assaulting a peace officer and other offenses and faced bails of up to $50,000.