Oakland police report protests against the verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting case have been peaceful tonight and no arrests have been reported. Hundreds of people rallied in Oakland this afternoon and evening to protest the not-guilty verdict in the case and the push for civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted last Saturday of Martin’s death.
Protestors gathered in the downtown area this afternoon, held a bike rally at 5 p.m. at Perkins Street and Grand Avenue and ended the day with a candlelight vigil at Lake Merritt. Protestors also gathered at 9 a.m. at the Federal Building in San Francisco in what police described as a peaceful event. The protests were among the 100 “Justice for Trayvon” events being held in cities nationwide today following last weekend’s controversial verdict. Oakland police were on high alert for the protests after previous rallies led to vandalism including broken windows and tagged businesses in the downtown area.
Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said officers’ days off have been cancelled this weekend to increase the police presence at the protests in the event of any criminal activity. “We are disappointed that this week a small number of protesters have dishonored the memory of Trayvon Martin and his family by engaging in violence and vandalism,” Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement. “They have endangered innocent people, damaged locally owned businesses that provide jobs for Oaklanders and hurt our growing economy.”
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