Berkeley: CHP arrests more than 150 people during highway protests

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Tuesday December 09, 2014 - 10:29:00 AM

The California Highway Patrol has announced that it arrested more than 150 protesters in Monday's standoff that blocked traffic in both directions on Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley for about 90 minutes. 

At about 8:30 p.m., a group of protesters broke through the perimeter fencing on the south side of the highway at Aquatic Park, officials said, and flooded onto the highway.  

Traffic stopped and the protesters began walking west in the eastbound lanes of traffic. CHP officers attempted to clear the highway of demonstrators and were met with violence, including assaults on officers with rocks and other objects, CHP officials said.  

Officers were able to stop the westward movement of protesters on I-80 at Powell Street and CHP officials report that the freeway reopened about 10 p.m. 

The law enforcement agency says it took the more than 150 individuals into custody for a variety of offenses including resisting/delaying/obstructing a peace officer. Officers booked the individuals into the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without incident.  

The protest started before 8 p.m. in Berkeley and drew upwards of 1,500 people who marched on University Avenue before entering the highway. The CHP says it respects the right of people to peacefully assemble and demonstrate, but "the freeway is not the place to express one's opinions."  

Officials say a collision with a car at freeway speeds has the same effect on a person as if they fell from a five-story building.