OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Thousands of people protesting the grand jury’s decision in the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri marched onto lanes of Interstate 580 near Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland Monday night, blocking traffic in both directions for several hours.
The California Highway Patrol issued a Sig-alert at 8:36 p.m. for traffic stopped on eastbound and westbound Highway 580 as over 2,000 protesters took to the lanes.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
CHP officers and vehicles assembled in a line in front of the protesters.
About two dozen people were seen climbing the center divide to eastbound lanes where officers were chasing them down, which led to a full shutdown of the freeway.
The California Highway Patrol reopened all lanes of the freeway shortly before 11:00 p.m.
The protesters started gathering at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza at 14th Street and Broadway earlier in the evening before the announcement chanting, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell. Indict, convict, send the killer cop to jail.”
More people started gathering at the intersection around 6 p.m. and yelled, “Hands up don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter.”
Many protesters held a “die-in” in which they laid down on the street with their bodies traced with chalk on the roadway.
After the decision was announced, a large crowd continued to march up Broadway, walked through Chinatown and headed east on Seventh Street.
Small groups of people stayed at the plaza calling for peace in light of the grand jury’s decision.
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Protesters attempted to enter Interstate Highway 880 from Seventh and Jackson Streets only to be blocked by police and made their way back to 14th Street and Broadway.READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
Shortly after 7 p.m., protesters were seen on top of an unmarked police car and spray-painted it at Seventh and Jackson streets.
Dozens of police officers were seen following the marching crowd, some in riot gear.
Protesters were also setting off fireworks, vandalizing, putting garbage cans on fire and spray-painting on buildings during the march.
People continued to walk on Broadway, turned on Grand Avenue, and entered the freeway at MacArthur Boulevard.
CHP officials are advising motorists to take state Highway 24 and Interstate Highway 880 to avoid delays.
As of about 9 p.m., cars were seen traveling on eastbound lanes and protesters were being cleared on westbound lanes, though traffic was still at a halt.
The intersection of 14th Street at Broadway and Seventh and Jackson streets were briefly blocked off but have since reopened, police said.
Dogwood, a bar located at 1664 Telegraph Ave. and about two blocks away from the plaza, was boarded up in preparation for protesters who may damage the business.
In a statement Rep. Barbara Lee said, “My heart continues to go out to Michael Brown’s family and community. I am beyond disappointed in Monday’s verdict. Like everyone in our community, I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another black man.”
“I urge protestors to be peaceful and for the police to respect people exercising their First Amendment rights,” Lee said.
People holding signs that read “The People Say Guilty!” and “Missouri, Palestine, Justice Now!” were blocking an intersection on city streets in downtown as part of the protest.
The organized protest was in response to the grand jury’s decision announced shortly before 6:30 p.m. in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.
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