Flash: Berkeley: Protesters continue to block city streets, cleared from freeway, arrested

Jamey Padojino (BCN) and Planet
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 12:11:00 PM
Dennis Culver
Dennis Culver
Dennis Culver
Dennis Culver
Dennis Culver

Protesters continue to snarl traffic in Berkeley tonight on city streets, the freeway, public transit and train tracks.

They have blocked both directions of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue twice tonight within an hour.

About a hundred protesters were seen entering eastbound lanes of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue and some jumped over the center divide to westbound lanes around 8 p.m. CHP officers were able to quickly take the protesters off the freeway.

The off-ramps to University Avenue from the freeway where Interstate Highway 80 and Interstate Highway 580 intersect have been closed.

At about 8:45 p.m., protesters were seen walking on eastbound and westbound lanes of the freeway near University Avenue bringing cars to a halt.

The approaches to eastbound Highway 80 from Highway 580, Interstate Highway 880 and the Bay Bridge have been closed due to the protests, CHP officials said. 

Motorists have been advised to take state Highway 24 and Interstate Highway 680 as an alternate route, according to the CHP. 

Around 10:15 p.m., protesters were being cleared from both directions of the freeway but traffic was still backed up, CHP officials said.  

Near midnight, Ali Winston reported on Twitter that protesters were being arrested behind the Ross for Less store in the Emeryville shopping center adjacent to Powell Street, near the Powell freeway exit. He said that he himself had been detained for several hours by police who he said wouldn't look at his press credential, which was a message from a local editor on his phone. 

Demonstrators were also seen walking on a pedestrian overcrossing above the freeway south of University Avenue and were blocked by police. 

Berkeley firefighters have responded to a report of a woman in labor while stuck on the freeway shortly before 10 p.m., a fire dispatcher said. She has since been removed from the freeway and transported a hospital, according to a dispatcher. 

The large group has gathered in the city's downtown area against decisions made by grand juries to not indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men Missouri and New York. 

Ferguson, Missouri police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, in August and last month a grand jury did not indict Wilson, who has since resigned from his position. 

Garner, 43, was held in a chokehold by New York City police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and died in July. The grand jury's decision to not indict Pantaleo was announced last week. 

The march started around 5 p.m. at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue near the University of California at Berkeley campus. The group then walked to Shattuck Avenue and reached the city's Police Department headquarters at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way around 6:30 p.m. They then continued marching west to University Avenue, according to police. Police said the demonstrators have been peaceful, though some threw objects while at police headquarters. 

The Downtown Berkeley BART station at 2160 Shattuck Ave. was closed shortly before 6:30 p.m. due to the protests and trains were not stopping at the station, a BART dispatcher said. 

The station reopened at about 8:25 p.m., the dispatcher said. 

A line of police officers in riot gear attempted to block protesters from reaching Interstate Highway 580 in Berkeley this evening. 

The protesters were heard chanting "Hands up, don't shoot," as officers were assembled on Sixth Street at University Avenue at about 7:30 p.m. to prevent hundreds of protesters from entering the freeway. 

There were also demonstrators at San Pablo Avenue and Addison Street as of about 8 p.m., police said. Traffic is heavy in the downtown area including University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, according to police. 

Around 8:30 p.m., protesters were seen blocking an Amtrak train near Addison and Second streets and remained there at about 10:15 p.m., police said. 

Protesters have also made their way to Emeryville near the Powell Street Plaza shopping center. 

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit officials said some buses have been detoured due to the protests and there may be delays on its Transbay lines such as the F and LC lines. 

Protests on Saturday and Sunday nights turned violent resulting in multiple arrests, vandalized businesses and injured police officers, according to police.