Oakland police have called in additional help from outside agencies to respond to continuing protests including more California Highway Patrol officers assigned to protecting freeway access, officials said today. Protestors marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza at 7 p.m. this evening in the third such event this week responding to a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. (story continues below video)
Police have arrested 135 people in the past 48 hours as a result of the protests on suspicion of charges including looting, vandalism, assault, failure to disperse, obstruction and obstructing a highway. Oakland police said three officers were injured Tuesday night, and the California Highway Patrol said on Tuesday that protestors were throwing bottles and rocks at officers. Protestors have succeeded in blocking traffic on Interstate Highway 580 and Interstate Highway 980 two nights in a row.
On Tuesday night, 300 to 400 protesters briefly blocked Interstate Highway 980 around 6:30 p.m., according to the CHP. By 7 p.m., protesters had shut down an off-ramp to Interstate Highway 880 at Broadway before the group snaked its way through West Oakland and marched up Telegraph Avenue. Several protesters lit dumpsters on fire and the windows of businesses were smashed along the street.
One group climbed over a fence and rushed onto the on-ramp to Interstate Highway 580 near 35th Street. Police quickly surrounded the group and ushered them off the freeway. While some got away, others were arrested and several dozen protesters were cited. Police said the protesters were arrested for “a variety of crimes.” CHP officials said one firearm was recovered while groups set fires and vandalized police cars.
A statement issued by police officials today warns that while the police department supports the right to peaceful assembly and protest, officers will take enforcement actions against those committing acts of violence, theft and vandalism. “We understand and share the frustration these events have caused for many Oakland residents and business owners and ask that you continue to support and collaborate with us as we work to keep the peace,” the statement said, urging anyone witnessing criminal activity to “distance themselves from involved individuals” and call police.
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