SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A California Highway Patrol officer was hospitalized in a crash on the Golden Gate Bridge during a protest by people opposed to vaccine mandates. A second officer and three bridge district workers also had minor injuries.
The crash happened as dozens of protesters gathered on the San Francisco side of the bridge Thursday afternoon, disrupting traffic across the span.
The CHP said it was aware of the planned protest beforehand and had additional resources on the scene. During the hours-long protest, there was a vehicle crash next to the protesters involving the two CHP officers and a bridge district truck. The officer who was hospitalized had injuries that were not life-threatening.
The crash temporarily blocked all northbound lanes. Earlier, the CHP had also temporarily shut down northbound lanes after someone tried to block traffic with a vehicle.
The accident occurred when an SUV collided with a street sweeper, which was pushed into a line of CHP officers.
“They were gathered at the sidewalk entrance onto the Golden Gate Bridge and, apparently, there were individuals in the crowd that had stated their intent was to take over the lane of traffic, so our intention at that point was to serve as a deterrent to try to prevent anybody from getting on,” said CHP officer Andrew Barclay.
The protest was among other demonstrations across a number of U.S. cities by first responders who face losing their jobs if they don’t comply with vaccination requirements.
The protesters were mostly gathered around the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center and highly visible along the tight traffic lanes.
Evening commute traffic out of San Francisco was bumper-to-bumper on all approaches to the bridge.
All lanes of the Golden Gate Bridge were open as of 8 p.m.
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