OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Thousands took to the streets of Oakland on Wednesday to protest the in-custody death of George Floyd, but unlike other nights, the demonstrations remained peaceful and police made just one arrest.
The day began with hundreds including Golden State stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson marching around Oakland’s Lake Merritt in an Unity event chanting the names of Floyd and others who have died locally in officer-involved shooting and demanding change.
The march was organized by a community group including Golden State teammate and Bay Area native Juan Toscano-Anderson, who attended Castro Valley High School.
“It don’t matter the color of your skin, or where you are from, of how much money you got,” Toscano-Anderson told the crowd. “We are all human beings. We are all here for the same purpose.”
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Later a much larger protest took to the streets while police maintained a presence several blocks away ready to move in if any violence erupted. They weren’t needed.
“Tonight was another example of what it means to assertively, yet peacefully come together in political and social expression,” said Interim Police Chief Susan Manheimer. “Oakland has a long history of organized, civil protest without violence and chaos. We are pleased that last night was another example.”
A large group met in front of City Hall in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza where numerous speakers engaged attendees. The protest came to and end at about 10 p.m. with smaller groups remaining in and around the Plaza. At one point a dance party broke out with many people joining amidst the speeches.
Officials said a crowd of approximately 8,000 took part.
Many people did remain gathered hours past the curfew, but police did not issue any citations.
“As we said, the curfew is a flexible option and last night we did not have to enforce it as the demonstrators, although out past the 8 p.m., were orderly and cooperative,” Manheimer said. “We purposely stood back and allowed for the demonstrations to continue without interruption.”
As of 1 a.m. Thursday there was one arrest, no citations, and no reports of violence, looting or physical damage.