Protesters arrested for vandalism, again

January 14, 2009 10:57:44 PM PST
Once again, Oakland Police had to arrest protesters that smashed store windows, bus stops, and vandalized streets.

Police made 18 arrests by 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. There was a peaceful march held at Oakland's City Hall earlier in the evening, but hours later things got out of hand. It was exactly the kind of behavior Oscar Grant's grieving mother begged people not to engage in. She made that plea the morning after last week's violent protest. She said Oscar would not want this kind of reaction.

The official organized protest was over at 7:30 p.m., but small groups of people continued to linger. There were many people who hung out on Broadway and that's where much of the night's window smashing took place. Police responded as soon as they got word, but not before much of the damage occurred. This is a huge disappointment for protest organizers and city leaders who made repeated calls for a peaceful demonstration.

The protest began at City Hall at 4 p.m. and everything was running smoothly, according to plan. Oakland Police called in every available officer into work on Wednesday night to prevent a repeat of last week's riots. Officers patrolled by helicopter, by car, were stationed on rooftops, by motorcycle and by foot. Oakland Police say they were ready, but obviously some people were able to slip through the cracks, engaging in vandalism once again.

At around 4 p.m. protesters staged what they called a "die-in" where 1,000 protesters lay on the ground chanting "Please don't shoot."

It went on for 15 or 20 minutes and then the crowd before 5 p.m. began walking down 14th Street to the courthouse.

There was a lot of concern from business owners on 14th Street and they said they hoped they would not see a repeat of last week's downtown riot.

The crowd marched back from the Alameda courthouse to Oakland City Hall for prayers and more speeches.


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