OAKLAND (KCBS)— Several people were detained during protests in Oakland Sunday night, following clashes with police out in force on orders that violence and vandalism would not be tolerated. Police said officers used force in two instances but did not describe the tactics officers used.
About 100 protesters, including several clergy gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza upset that the city began implementing a law that requires that protest marches be permitted and that they be limited to sidewalks and take place before dark.
The group then headed towards Oakland Police Department, but officers turned them back. Some of the marchers— and the police who followed— blocked a portion of Broadway. Many of the protesters left the scene at that point. Some of those who didn’t, got into a shouting match with police. According the the San Francisco Chronicle, police issued 19 citations and made four arrests in all.
Katie Loncke, a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and an organizer of the event, which was sponsored by an interfaith congregation, said she’s been involved with the black lives matter movement and organizing that dates back to the fatal shooting by police of Oakland resident Oscar Grant in 2009.
“We see the curfew as a completely absurd and immoral action,” Loncke said. “From my understanding there’s no time allotment for First Amendment rights.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has denied that any “curfew” has been instituted. Police Chief Sean Whent said the latest crackdown does not infringe upon anyone’s First Amendment rights and that they can be on the sidewalk. Mayor Schaaf said it’s a reinterpretation of an existing law on the books that police had previously overlooked.
Several business owners are upset about the recent May Day protests, which were marred by violence, vandalism and damages to property. Brian Amble who owns Auto Row Smog Shop had its windows smashed in that night; the same evening 40 new cars were set on fire.
“I fully support people’s right to protest. I think it’s an important part of what our country is,” he said. “I just think people can get national news coverage without destroying or trashing their city.”
Police said in the string demonstrations that occurred over Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, that there were no reports of any vandalism or injuries.
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