Protest erupts in Oakland following Ferguson grand jury decision, shuts down freeway
on November 25, 2014
Planned protests erupted in Oakland Monday night, disrupting freeway traffic and leading to a handful of arrests as a huge crowd demonstrated against a grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
A crowd of several hundred filled the intersection of 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland by 5:50 p.m., chanting “No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!” Protesters marched east on Broadway shortly after 7 p.m., with the crowd swelling to about 1,000 as the march headed toward Lake Merritt.
Police formed a barricade at Grand Avenue and MacArthur Blvd. to stop the crowd from crossing onto Lakeshore Avenue. Several hundred protesters instead pushed forward onto the 580 freeway onramp at MacArthur, halting traffic for miles as police formed a barricade on the freeway and helicopters circled.
By around 9:30 p.m., the protesters dispersed from the freeway and turned back towards downtown Oakland. Another group attempted to enter the freeway at the Grand/Lakeshore Avenue exit ramp, chanting, “Shut it down for Michael Brown!” and setting a mattress on fire.
Police said there were scattered reports of vandalism downtown, but the damage paled in comparison to the looting and torching that engulfed parts of Ferguson after the decision was announced.
Ronald Cruz, an organizer with By Any Means Necessary, announced on a megaphone around 10:45 p.m. that six to nine people had been arrested during the earlier attempt to block the freeway.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Officer Wilson in Ferguson, MO, on Aug. 9. Brown’s death ignited a storm of protests in Ferguson and around the world. Brown, who was unarmed when he was shot, was black; Wilson is white.
A Missouri grand jury was convened to review evidence and to decide whether to charge Wilson with a crime.
The long-awaited grand jury decision was anticipated throughout the month of November, with tensions mounting as cities across the country prepared for post-announcement marches. In Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon preemptively declared a state of emergency. Oakland joined more than 100 cities in actions on the evening the grand jury decision was released.
For more coverage of the protests in Oakland, see Oakland North’s updates at https://oaklandnorth.net/2014/11/24/oakland-reacts-to-grand-jury-decision-in-ferguson-shooting-with-protests-freeway-shutdown.
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