OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Police dispersed a large group of protesters in the streets of downtown Oakland Monday night, using tear gas and rubber bullets on people who were demonstrating past the time of a curfew in effect for Oakland and all of Alameda County.

This reporter was handcuffed and briefly detained by police officers at the scene. I was the only journalist I saw handcuffed during tonight’s protest.

Earlier, Oakland police had set up barriers and a line of officers on Broadway at 8th St. as thousands of protesters peacefully marched and chanted from Oakland Tech to Frank Ogawa Plaza, as part of nationwide protests against police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police.

Demonstators were stopped as they continued to head toward Oakland Police headquarters. As the 8 p.m. hour approached, police issued  warnings to disperse.

At one point, protesters began to throw objects across the lines and that’s when police put on gas masks and deployed the tear gas.

The majority of the protestors at Broadway and 8th scattered when the tear gas was fired. The remaining people continued to shout at Oakland police across the barrier. More tear gas was set off as police continued to order the crowds to disperse.

FULL COVERAGE: GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS

As police arrested a number of demonstrators who did not disperse, my photographer colleague and I remained to document the scene and I was handcuffed by an officer in riot gear. I identified myself as a member of the press and my station badge was clearly visible. A lieutenant arrived on the scene and released me after a few minutes; later a police spokeswoman issued an apology.

More than 40 people were arrested, according to police.

Initially, there was minimal visible police presence. Marchers included a number of families with children in tow, walking past a backdrop of graffiti and boarded-up windows from a few nights ago.

One child held up a sign reading “You stand up for people” taped to a plastic toy sword as he looked upon a burned-out trash can – a reminder of the violence from a few nights ago.

The protestors stopped near Oakland City Hall, with a number of speakers calling out for equality and justice. Before the tear gas was deployted, the smell of spray paint was thick in the air from murals painted on all the plywood protecting local businesses from looters.

Artists had painted them earlier Monday afternoon along the planned protest route on Broadway near 10th St.

After initially deciding not to impose a curfew as did a number of Bay Area cities, on Monday Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reversed position after assessing the destruction from the weekend protests.

“We have endured so much damage and pain over these last days,” Schaaf told reporters. “But we have come to the conclusion by assessing the conditions and the law enforcement intelligence that we have that it is appropriate for Oakland to impose a curfew.”

Residents in Alameda County should stay in their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.

 

 

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