SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Black Lives Matter protesters blocked westbound traffic on the Bay Bridge for nearly three hours Sunday, painting #BLM on the roadway before police moved in and arrested 29 demonstrators, allowing traffic to once again move across the span into San Francisco.
The protest began after 4:30 p.m. west of Treasure Island. Traffic into San Francisco ground to a halt as California Highway Patrol officers responded.
Around 6:30 p.m., CHP officials took several protesters into custody and were allowing cars to use one lane to move across the bridge. All the on- and off-ramps into San Francisco were closed for about an hour as officers attempted to relieve the bottleneck.
San Francisco police said 29 protesters were arrested, 5 vehicles towed and 3 bicycles towed. The arrests were for trespassing on bridge and/or resisting arrest. No officers injured.
The protesters, reportedly in a caravan of about 50 vehicles, may have been an offshoot of several Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the Bay Area on Sunday. As the number of CHP officers grew, they were joined by San Francisco police. Protesters attempted to paint “#BLM” in yellow paint on the roadway but were interrupted by the officers.
A group of protesters also marched along San Francisco’s Embarcadero while, on the bridge, a handful of protesters were out of the cars, with one carrying a sign reading: “Silence Is Compliance.”
During the standoff, drivers in the backup were getting out of their vehicles, taking social media selfies and waiting patiently.
Among them was Amy Foot, who took to Twitter and posted: “Protesters have painted #BLM on the bay bridge and this is the least angry I’ve been while parked at a standstill on the bay bridge for an actual hour.”
Paulina P. posted: “stuck on the #baybridge due to #BLM protesters. I have an irrational fear of being stuck on bridges and I have been shaking violently for the past hour but my panic attack is nothing compared to what Black folks have faced. I’m in solidarity and I’m getting through this!!!”
Faux King posted from inside the tunnel: “Stuck in #sf #baybridge traffic. #BLM protesters have shut it down. Ain’t mad about it. In fact, I think we should make this the S.F. Autonomous Zone.”
Other drivers also posted to social media from the backup.
— Philosopher Queen (@lolothelawyer) June 15, 2020
— Teacher (@21cbrain) June 15, 2020
Bay bridge westbound shit down for BLM protest. pic.twitter.com/7TNKxYLETd
— Geekpondering (@geekpondering) June 14, 2020
SF Bay Bridge shut down by protests pic.twitter.com/UcQQEGTgAw
— Mandeep (@mandeepnyc) June 14, 2020
BAY BRIDGE SHUT DOWN
BLACK LIVES MATTER pic.twitter.com/MhzAzEiWhP
— chris🌴ian (@blastedpanda) June 15, 2020