Mostly Peaceful Protest in Oakland Turns Violent
Earlier this evening I attended a peaceful protest over the death of Oscar Grant. The protest was large, with almost 1,500 participants and seemed very organized. Speakers advocated protesting against the killing of Oscar Grant but urged protesters to do this peacefully. The protest ran from 4pm to 7pm.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums spoke at the protest as did hip hop star Too Short. The protest, which started at Oakland City Hall, marched from City Hall down to the Alameda County Court House where protesters demanded the resignation of Oakland District Attorney Tom Orloff. Several more speeches were given down at the Courthouse, including one by Oscar Grant’s football coach.
After the speeches at the Courthouse, the protest again marched back to City Hall where the protest continued for about another hour.
After 7pm about 100 or so of the original protesters were still hanging around 14th and Broadway and there are reports of trash can fires and broken windows in that area. Bart was also briefly closed while the rioting was going on. According to KTVU, 18 people were arrested including 2 for possession of molatov cocktails. I suspect the violence may still be going on in downtown Oakland as I still hear helicopters hovering over head.
Most all of the retail stores down in the protest area had supportive Oscar Grant signs in their windows. Several were boarded up in anticipation of tonight’s violence.
Yesterday former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle was arrested for the New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant.
If you’d like to see my set of images from tonight’s protest you can see them all here.