Trayvon Martin: One Injured, Six Arrested After Protesters Block Highways, Burn Flag

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Joseph Geha

What began as a peaceful assembly in Frank Ogawa Plaza, soon escalated to a tense, tumultuous protest throughout downtown Oakland Monday night, where hundreds of protesters took to the streets to express their frustration with Saturday's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Monday marked the third night of protesting in the Bay Area, where Martin's death has been aligned with the memory of Oscar Grant, both serving as symbols of racial oppression and injustice for supporters and protesters.

Toward the end of the nearly six-hour protest, which covered about 10 miles through Oakland's downtown, several businesses were vandalized; protesters spray-painted and shattered storefronts again -- and they didn't stop there: fireworks were thrown into the crowds and at police officers, and freeway entrances and highway traffic were blocked.

By the end of the night, the cops unleashed flash bang grenades, a restaurant worker was injured, an American flag was burned, and six demonstrators were hauled to jail.

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Joseph Geha
The #HoodiesUp demonstration began peacefully around 6 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza, where the "community speak out" allowed close to 200 people to express their feelings over Saturday's verdict through spoken word, chants, and speeches.

Young children with bullhorns accompanied their parents at the plaza, then walked on the streets with people both young and old, speaking in English and Spanish, accompanied by the things that brought them the most comfort -- bunnies, dogs, bikes, and iPhones.

"Oakland is the home of revolution," yelled a protester. "Can't bring us down, we here to stay now."

After protesters headed south on Broadway, led by a group of young men on colorful scraper bikes, the tension started right there in front of the Oakland Police Department. Perhaps that's why protesters decided to detour; about 100 of them walked up the onramps along northbound I-880 around 7 p.m., bringing traffic to a dead stop. Some went as far as to attack commuters' cars and spray paint them, as if the commute on the 1-880 wasn't horrible enough.

"You're making normal people hate your cause, asshole," shouted one protester to a fellow protester who was kicking and shaking a commuter's vehicle.

The highway chaos continued until about 7:30 p.m. when protesters turned around and took their cause back to the surface streets, and the lanes reopened.

The protest, which seemed to have no clear direction or solid leadership, wended its way through Oakland's Chinatown, where demonstrators spray-painted cars and sometimes got aggressive with drivers who were trying to get out of the way. By 8:50 p.m., the group made its way to the Lake Merritt area where a masked protester took an American flag out of his bag, attached it to a pole, and lit a match to its end, setting the flag on fire as some people chanted "Trayvon! Trayvon!"

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Joseph Geha
Police arrested a handful of people, officials say, on a range of felony and misdemeanor charges.

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18 comments
Kurt Dunlap
Kurt Dunlap

I don't get it. Why does damaging your neighbors property help anything?

aliasetc
aliasetc topcommenter

Zimmerman made a good shoot. Be an asshole and burn down Oakland . It's a hole

Jonas Heineman
Jonas Heineman

I was there - an element that I think has been referred to as 'black block Occupiers,' as well as a group of opportunistic youth, were in the crowd and used the demonstration as cover to smash windows indiscriminately (banks, empty storefronts, local businesses) and throw trash into the streets. It was disappointing to see this behavior detract from peaceful civil disobedience in support of justice for Trayvon Martin.

Katy St. Clair
Katy St. Clair

Mari in Florida if you perceive a person as a threat you are allowed to kill them; you have NO duty to retreat so by law Trayvon Martin did not have to try to avoid the confrontation. He's black so you might have a point though; if you are white like Zimmerman you can do it and get away with it.

Katy St. Clair
Katy St. Clair

Mari Pellegrino you seem unaware of the Stand Your Ground laws

Riquer
Riquer

This are vandals and should be persecuted as such...

Mari Pellegrino
Mari Pellegrino

If Trayvon was alive - he would be brought up on attempted murder charges. People lets do some critical thinking here!

Rock Belt
Rock Belt

When will they realize they are just making the whole situation worse...they are trying to make everyone else their enemies regardless of what they believe in.

Robert la Bohème
Robert la Bohème

Uhm ... Obama's supposed to do a flyover in Airforce 1 and get all Rambo or something? Wow.

Robert la Bohème
Robert la Bohème

The irony is it's fear and expectation of behavior like this that let so many identify with Zimmerman and allowed him to get away with Trayvon's murder. These people aren't helping their cause.

Kim Kibler
Kim Kibler

this is a blog- not mainstream print. WTF

Mary Littlelamb
Mary Littlelamb

Skittles is owned by Wrigley's ,a white family. Keep buying a shitload of Skittles at your protest and supporting whitey. How come nobody is talking about the watermelon flavored iced tea?

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

Just thugs out and about they have nothing better to do but harm others and Burn there own city. I'm sure Obama don't care! If he did he would have did something by now!

Ken Hope Shumway
Ken Hope Shumway

When did what the fuck become ok to use in mainstream print just because you abbreviate?

Mary Littlelamb
Mary Littlelamb

How would your President Obama feel about you burning the flag? Ever heard of Monrovia? I'll help you pack your bags.

Mary Littlelamb
Mary Littlelamb

Who are the majority in Oakland? Race wise? Exactly. Burn your own city down.please get rid of it. Flag burning doesn't effect me.act like animals, be treated and look like them

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