Berkeley Protesters Block Highway, Stop Train

More than 1K crowd I-80, Amtrak tracks in 3rd night
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 7:51 AM CST
Berkeley Protesters Block Highway, Stop Train
Protesters rallying against police violence block Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 8, 2014.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Protests against the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner continued for a third consecutive night in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday, with more than 1,000 people blocking traffic. Protesters thronged both sides of Interstate 80 as well as train tracks in the city, forcing an Amtrak train to halt, the AP reports. The protests had started as a peaceful march earlier in the day; the group chanted, "Who do you protect? Peaceful protest!" at the Berkeley Police Department as officers in riot gear kept them from getting near. Then protesters sat outside a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station, causing it to be shut down for a few hours, before the group splintered into smaller factions, some of which became disruptive.

The California Highway Patrol says fencing was torn down by some protesters, allowing people to pour onto I-80. Around 11:30pm, officers started arresting what the San Francisco Chronicle calls "scores of protesters" as they rounded people up and prevented them from getting back on the freeway. The Sunday night protests had also gotten violent, with broken glass, fires, vandalism, and looting in the downtown area. As the AP notes, protests in other parts of the country have gone quiet, but activists are still demonstrating in Berkeley and Oakland, both of which have a long history of protest. "The people in the Bay Area are sensitive to worldwide issues," says the Berkeley mayor. "Unfortunately, there is a small element that uses violence at times to make their point." NBA stars have also joined the protests. (More Michael Brown stories.)

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